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Monday, February 1, 2010

Smoking: 6.5 million Nigerians risk death in 2010


No fewer than 6.5 million Nigerian smokers may die this year from tobacco-related sickness.An international expert, Akinbode Oluwafemi, who said this also said about 65 million Nigerians smoke cigarette.
Oluwafemi said that inability of government to tax tobacco producing companies heavily was responsible for the cheap prices of cigarette making it easily available to low income earners. According to him, increased taxation will lead to increase price of the product thereby, discouraging the youths who were the most vulnerable group from smoking cigarette.
He said a pack of cigarette that sells for N200 in Nigeria goes for about $5 in the United States of America (USA) due to the heavy taxation placed on the manufacturing companies saying “smoking is a sure gateway to drug addiction.”
While describing smoking as a major risk factor for different cancer cases, Akinbode said it is also linked to about fifteen various cases of cancer in human body saying “apart from the high cost of treatment, infrastructural challenges, smoking related cancers accounts for 30 per cent of cancer related deaths.”
The expert who is the Programme Manager, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria said that cigarette contains about 4000 toxic and cancer causing chemicals and is responsible for more than 85 per cent cases of lung cancer.
He said that smoking causes cancer of the mouth, pharynx, larynx, oesophagus, stomach, pancreas, uterine, cervix, kidney, ureter, bladder and the colon.
While urging the National Assembly to hasten the process of passage of bill on the ban on tobacco smoking in the country, Oluwafemi urged Nigerians to support the passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill.
The Secretary for Social Development of the FCDA, Habiba Kalgo while declaring the workshop open said the decision to ban smoking in public places in FCT was necessitated by the increase in the number of deaths arising from cancer cases in the FCT.
She, however, urged FCT residents to support the ban since they were the secondhand smokers were also affected by the fumes of the product.


Picture - Vector picture after Vincent van Gogh’s “Skull of a Skeleton with Burning Cigarette”, 1885 (Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam)