World No Tobacco Day: One out of 10 Nigerians smokes, expert says

A Cambodian man holds a cigarette along a street in Phnom Penh on May 31, 2013. To mark World No Tobacco Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) this week announced that Phnom Penh has been given a special award for the city's outstanding contributions to tobacco control. WHO said in a statement that the theme of this year's campaign is 'Ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship'. According to 2011 data from WHO, it is estimated that close to 10,000 people die every year from diseases related to tobacco use in Cambodia. AFP PHOTO / TANG CHHIN SOTHY


Gabriel Omotoso of the Department of Anatomy, University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), says one in every 10 Nigerians smokes tobacco daily.


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Mr Omotoso made the submission in Ilorin during his paper presentation at the 259th inaugural lecture of the university titled ‘White Matter Matters in the Search for Phytochemical Candidates for Demyenilating Disorders’.


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The don, who teaches in the Faculty of Basic Medical Sciences, College of Health Science of the university, quoted the World Health Organisation (WHO) stating that the latest global estimate of tobacco users stood at 1.25 billion people.



He added, “Tobacco causes more than eight million deaths yearly, out of which 1.3 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. This makes it a leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide.”

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Mr Omotoso lamented that despite a great deal of health education on the grave implications of cigarette smoking, many people are still caught in the web of the habit while tobacco companies continue to make a fortune in the business.


He, therefore, stressed the need to specially protect children from tobacco, highlighting the consequences of cigarette smoke on different organs of the body.


“This includes its adverse effects on male gonads and reproductive fertility, degenerative change in the liver, disruption of the canalicular network and lipid metabolism and other hepatocellular injuries,” he said.


He urged the federal government to enforce Tobacco Production Laws to protect youths from industry manipulation and prevent them from tobacco and nicotine use.


May 31 is annually celebrated as World No Tobacco Day, a global campaign to raise awareness of tobacco’s harmful effects.



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