The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said that Tobacco kill more than half of its users even when used exactly as recommended by its manufacturers.
Prof. Adewole made this disclosure on Monday 4th June, 2018 while briefing the press to commemorate 2018 World No Tobacco Day in Abuja, with theme: Tobacco Breaks the Heart, Choose Health, Not Tobacco”.
Adewole said “Globally there are more than 1 billion smokers, and more than 7 million people are killed by tobacco annually. Of this, more than 6 million die from direct tobacco use, and close to 900,000 from exposure to second-hand smoke. I must add that the low and middle income countries including Nigeria bear nearly 80% of the global burden”.
The Minister said that in Nigeria for instance, over 20 billion sticks of cigarettes are consumed annually, and 5.6% of adults (4.5 million) currently use tobacco products.
Prof. Adewole said that Nigeria Global Adult Tobacco Survey carried out in 2012 indicate that about 82% of the entire population are exposed to second-hand smoke when visiting bars/nightclubs and 29.3% (6.4 million) when visiting restaurants.
Speaking on the economic disadvantages of Tobacco, the Minister said that tobacco use was responsible for huge economic losses emanating from both direct and indirect medical costs. It is estimated that Nigeria losses $800 million annually to stroke, heart disease and diabetes.
Adewole said that in 2015 the projected accumulated loss to tobacco was put at $7.6 billion, the tobacco industry makes huge profits without taking responsibility for the harm they cause to public health.
“Evidence also shows that for every $1 gain from tobacco business about $3 is expended on healthcare cost.”
In his remarks, the Hon Minister of Information and Culture Alh. Lai Mohammed, represented by the Director Information,Mrs. Boade Akinola, commended the efforts of the Federal Ministry of Health in the fight against tobacco smoking that is the major cause of the cardiovascular diseases in the country.
Alh. Muhammed called on the media to support the initiatives by spreading the message to the general public.
The Information Minister reaffirmed his Ministry’s commitment to support the initiative and pledged to collaborate with Federal Ministry of Health in ensuring that the fight against smoking is successful.
Speaking during the event, WHO Country Director Dr. Wondi Alemu represented by Dr. Mpazanje said that eliminating tobacco use will help to prevent millions of people dying from cardio vascular diseases.
He said “every person can play a role in promoting healthy hearts by committing to not use tobacco, helping others to quit and protecting all people, including family members, workers and children from tobacco smoke.