" ITREALMS: Nigeria: Facts behind tobacco related deaths - ITREALMS

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Nigeria: Facts behind tobacco related deaths - ITREALMS

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Remmy Nweke in this report exposed what every adolescent in Nigeria should know about tobacco and its effects as users surge.


The World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Health Observatory in 2019, listed as one of the risk factors for oral diseases in Nigeria to include the prevalence of current tobacco use at 15 years and above, who use any tobacco product be it smoked and/or smokeless tobacco, on a daily or non-daily basis.
Tobacco smoke is defined as a sooty aerosol produced by the incomplete combustion of tobacco during the smoking of cigarettes and other tobacco products. Temperatures in burning cigarettes range from about 400 °C between puffs to about 900 °C during a puff, according to Wikipedia.

On the other hand, smokeless tobacco is a tobacco product that is used by means other than smoking. Their use involves chewing, sniffing, or placing the product between gum and the cheek or lip. Smokeless tobacco products, experts at Wikipedia also said, are produced in various forms, such as chewing tobacco, snuff, snus, and dissolvable tobacco products.

Statista.com revealed that as of 2018, the share of smokers in Nigeria added up to roughly 2.5 per cent of the surveyed sample with male smokers more frequent than female smokers. Predominantly, six per cent of males living in rural areas smoked, whereas the share in urban Nigeria was slightly lower to 5.2 per cent. While female smokers recorded about 0.3 per cent of the sample.

Tobacco kills up to half users:
Recent studies by the United Nations (UN) indicated that tobacco kills up to half of its users globally and precisely, over 8 million people each year, just as over 7 millions of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 millions are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

Whereas over 80 per cent of the world's 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low and middle income countries, in 2020 alone, some 22.3 per cent of the global population reportedly used tobacco, categorised into 36.7 per cent of all men and 7.8 per cent of the world’s women, as indicated in the UN report of May 2022.

ITREALMS gathered that in order to address the tobacco epidemic, the member states of the World Health Organisation (WHO) adopted its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2003. Currently 182 countries have ratified this treaty.

The WHO MPOWER measures are in line with the WHO FCTC and have been shown to save lives and reduce costs from averted healthcare expenditure.

101 on Tobacco harm reduction:

Health experts said that anything that decreases the risks from using tobacco or nicotine could bring about reduction in tobacco harm. Thus, tobacco harm reduction is described as actions taken to lower the health risks associated with using tobacco or nicotine. A very important part of tobacco harm reduction is simply educating people about the risks of different sources of nicotine.

According to Rodu & Cole, 2004, in The Burden of Mortality from Smoking: Comparing Sweden with Other Countries in the European Union as published in European Journal of Epidemiology as extracted For Smokers Only, pointed out on how a smoker can reduce his or her risk by quitting smoking or smoke less.

Smokers, they said, could quit nicotine entirely, that is, quit smoking and not use any other type of nicotine. They can also get nicotine from a much less harmful source. Neither one will immediately eliminate all of the health risks caused by their previous smoking, but could come very close.

Stressing that quitting entirely is probably the slightly healthier option for most people, because nicotine itself may slightly increase your risk of heart attack and stroke, though not nearly as much as smoking does. But switching to a highly-reduced-risk nicotine product is almost as good as quitting entirely.

“Because the longer you smoke the worse it is for you, switching now may be better than quitting later,” he canvassed, , according to tobaccoharmreduction.org.

They underlined the fact there are many programmes, drugs, and therapies available to help smokers quit using nicotine entirely, advising that any smoker who elects to quit entirely, would be successful with determination to follow through.

On harm reduction:

They noted that though harm reduction could be a controversial idea, but it shouldn't be because most all of public health, and a large part of medical care, are devoted to harm reduction.

So, the term "harm reduction" is most often used in controversial contexts, like encouraging condom use and other safe sex practices, or providing heroin users with clean needles or methadone. Calling it "harm reduction" reminds us that though people would be at less risk of disease if they just avoided sex or gave up narcotics entirely, which may not be expected to happen instantly.

BAT in the circle:

In efforts to attain a culture of what industry watchers tagged 'responsible' tobacco use many manufacturers now have age inscription and danger risk on the product packs.

Leading in this outreach is the British American Tobacco, a global organisation with a long-established history and a bright and dynamic future for providing excellent products with confidence and responsibility expected of global consumer brands, especially with its active role in this regard on the continent, which promises another inroad in public health in Africa.

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FG committed to reduce use of tobacco:

Nigeria, a signatory to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) recently reiterated Federal Government’s commitment towards reducing the use of tobacco in the country, as said by the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire.

He stressed the efforts made towards the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act of 2015, which is the national law that domesticates the WHO FCTC, through multi-sector engagement involving Government and Civil Society Organisations.

Even as recent survey identified some 4.1 million men and 500,000 women smokers in Nigeria, while 6.4 million adults are exposed to smokers, forcing industry observers to see of dealing with smokers as a looming epidemic.

Nigeria is the most densely and largest populated country in Africa, with approximately 212 million people and the seventh largest population in the world.


The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing more than 8 million people a year, including around 1.2 million deaths from exposure to second-hand smoke. All forms of tobacco are harmful, and there is no safe level of exposure to tobacco. Cigarette smoking is the most common form of tobacco use worldwide. Other tobacco products include waterpipe tobacco, various smokeless tobacco products, cigars, cigarillos, roll-your-own tobacco, pipe tobacco, bidis and kreteks, as well as e-cigarettes.

With over 80 per cent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide residing in low and middle-income countries; more so, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death remain heaviest, thus, tobacco use contributes to poverty by diverting household spending from basic needs such as food and shelter to tobacco.

Noteworthy is that the economic costs of tobacco use are substantial and include significant health care costs for treating the diseases caused by tobacco use as well as the lost human capital that results from tobacco-attributable morbidity and mortality.

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