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Friday, October 8, 2010

Youth Cautioned On Tobacco Addiction

-Zacheaus Somorin

Youths around the country have been warned to desist from smoking as the world marks the International Week of Resistance. At a press briefing held in Lagos, the Director, Cooperate Accountability Campaign and Administration, Environmental Rights Action (ERA), Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, stated that this year's event is aimed building momentum in the run-up to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) meetings in Uruguay in November.

The meetings are planned for a unified, international action to prevent the tobacco industry from derailing the FCTC's lifesaving measures.
He stated that "FCTC entered into force in 2005 and has since been ratified by more than 170 countries, representing close to 90 per cent of the world's population" saying that the "treaty aims to reverse an epidemic that today claims the life of one in 10 adults".
He explained further that "the single greatest obstacle to the treaty's success is tobacco industries' interference in public health policy - a practice that Article 5.3 of the treaty effectively forbids".

"Smoking especially among youths in Nigeria over the last few years has continued to rise. A survey conducted in 2001 shows that 9.1 per cent of Nigerian youths smoke cigarette. The figure by another survey conducted in 2008 has jumped to between 17 per cent and 27 per cent.Akinbode stated that the report on Global Tobacco Treaty Action Guide is intended to keep governments alert and make them anticipate and thwart attempts by the vested commercial interests of the tobacco industry to undermine the implementation of tobacco control policies. He said further that the report reinforces the need for governments to insulate their public health policies from interference by tobacco companies.
"In fact, a recent survey in four local governments of Adamawa state put smoking rate among the youth at 33.9 per cent. While smoking rate has been on the increase the Senate has been foot-dragging in passing the National Tobacco Control Bill," he posited, calling on the National Assembly to pass the National Tobacco Control Bill.