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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

35m Nigerians may die smoking


The health implications of smoking have been reiterated with the World Health Organization (WHO) putting the number of Nigerians that are likely to die from tobacco-related diseases in the next 10 years at 35 million.

Since 1962, there have been damning reports about the health hazards of smoking. For example, the Royal College of Physicians attributes cigarette smoking to cause lung cancer and bronchitis.
According to the College, cigarette smoking is the most likely cause of the recent world-wide increase in deaths from lung cancer."
This was the submission of the counsel to the Ogun State Government, Barrister Bashir Ramon during a one-day enlightenment workshop by the Environmental Rights Action and the Coalition Against Tobacco in Abeokuta.

He spoke just as participants at the workshop commended the state government for litigation against tobacco companies in Nigeria.
Quoting from the WHO, Barrister Ramon also disclosed that 175 million people in the world may also die as a result of related diseases.

"It is alarming, sad and must be prevented. With 175 million people in the world who may likely die of the same related diseases, our government should not fold her arms and allow the havoc to continue," he said.
He also told participants that out of four Africans, there is a Nigerian, meaning that in the total population of Africans; (175 million), Nigeria has one quarter of it. "If you look at this, you would discover that Nigeria has a greater number of people facing the terrible effect of tobacco smoking," he noted.
Shedding light on why the state government had gone to court, Ramon said: "We are not in court for monetary sake. We are in court for the betterment of our people and future of our young ones who are innocently smoking their future."

"Our prayers in the court are that tobacco products are injurious to human health. We are also praying the High Court to stop tobacco companies from advertising and selling their products to the youths in the country".
Explaining further, he said: "Monetary relieve is divided into various strata. The state government is seeking relieve for the expenses she has incurred in the past 20 years and the expenses they are likely to incur in the next 20 years.

"The fact before us shows that they have less than 1000 Nigerian employees. When you consider the population of Nigerians, which is conservatively put at 140 million. Unfortunately, this marginal figure would be producing a product that would affect the lives of over 140 million people. It is sad. It not reasonable"