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Friday, May 15, 2009

‘13m Nigerians’re Smokers’

From Yinka Kolawole in Osogbo,

Osun State, Nigeria: The average rate of active smokers in Nigeria was yesterday put at 13 million , while adult smoking rate was put at 17 percent.
Speaking at the sensitisation meeting for members of Osun State House of Assembly on Osun State proposed Smoke Free Bill, the State Commissioner for Health,Lanre Afolabi, noted that since half smokers die of tobacco related diseases, it also showed that over 6.5 million Nigerians are on death row due to tobacco addiction.
The commissioner stressed that it was alarming that in 2003 the overall prevalence of tobacco for youths in Nigeria was 18.1 percent and for senior executive 13.9 percent. He also gave the figure of the rapidly growing annual average rate of tobacco use in Africa and developing countries as 4.7 percent compared with the 3.4 percent of other countries.

He pointed out that in 2006 , the data recorded was 9.527 tobacco related causes in 26 state owned health facilities, and within the same period. The commissioner said the bill was set to protect the present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption in the state.

While speaking on the Bill, the Speaker, Osun State House of Assembly, Hon. Adejare Bello, said the Bill seeks to provide a legal framework for the control of the use of tobacco products and exposure to tobacco smoke, in order to protect the health of the individual. He described tobacco smoking as a major risk factor for about 44 different kind of diseases, saying there are over 4,000 carcinogens in tobacco smoking.