A Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) Eye Opener Women and Youth Foundation, has taken its tobacco campaign to youths brigade, to raise awareness on dangers of tobacco usage.
The Founder of the organisation, Mrs Margaret Julius, said she had taken the campaign to Nigeria Boys and Girls Brigades to educate them on the harmful effects of cigarette smoking and other substances.
Julius said this during a workshop in Kaduna on Tuesday.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Julius was a two time winner of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Award in West Africa.
According to her, the workshop will open the eyes of the boys brigade on the danger of tobacco and other substances.
She, however, advised those using dangerous substances to quit, so that they would not influence the upcoming ones.
Highpoint of the occasion was the official inauguration of the Tobacco, Substance Abstinence Club. The club is aimed at educating members on how to abstain from tobacco smoking and other dangerous substances as well as on how to help and save life of users.
An NGO, Eye Opener Women and Youth Foundation, has commenced the sensitisation of youth corps members to the harmful effects of cigarette smoking in Kaduna State.
The Founder and President of the organisation, Mrs Margaret Julius, disclosed this to the News Agency of Nigeria ( NAN) on Monday in Kaduna.
Julius, who is equally the recipient of the 2022 World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) Award, said she targeted over 20,000 youths corps members annually.
She said that the campaigns were aimed at raising more awareness of youths and women in the country.
”Smoking cigarettes harms a person’s health and increases the risk of heart diseases,” Julius added.
”At a one-day programme at the NYSC permanent orientation camp in Kaduna , a one minute silence was observed for the late President of Nigeria, Alhaji Umaru Yar adua and others.
”This was because of the roles they played towards spreading the fight against Cigarette smoking.
” The founder said further that there was no advantage to cigarette smoking, adding, ”rather, it kills and still kills millions of youths across the world”.
She stated that the NGO had created many tobacco abstinence clubs at both private and public schools in the state.
A former corps member, Miss Esther Umoh, who was a member of one of the clubs, urged her colleagues to intensify the anti-smoking campaign in their places of primary assignment.
The Federal Ministry of Health has launched Version One of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI), a virtual (web-based) dashboard to provide information on tobacco prevalence and other parameters in the country.
The Minister of State for Health, Sen. Adeleke Mamora, at the launch on Tuesday in Abuja, said the ministry in partnership with Development Gateway, developed the TCDI, to commemorate the 2022 ‘World No Tobacco Day’ with the theme “Tobacco: A threat to our environment”.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that World No Tobacco Day is commemorated globally on May 31 every year.
However, due to other National engagements, Nigeria has chosen to mark the day on June 28.
The World Health Organization (WHO) said the prevalence of the use of tobacco was increasing worldwide.
According to WHO, tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing up to half of its users with more than eight million deaths recorded annually around the world.
It said more than eight million of those deaths were the results of direct tobacco use while around 1.2 million resulted from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke or what some call “passive smoking”.
Mamora said, to deepen the implementation of the graphic health warning intervention, the ministry in partnership with the Management Sciences for Health (MSH), was implementing a nationwide graphic health warning awareness project.
“We are using the project opportunity to also sensitise the public to the need to comply with the provisions of the law such that tobacco products shall not be sold in single sticks or sold to and by persons less than 18 years of age.
“It is still important to remind us that winning the war against tobacco use is a joint responsibility. I would like to take this opportunity to urge Nigerians to avoid tobacco and exposure to second-hand smoke.
“Quitting tobacco is beneficial because it will decrease your risk of many diseases. It will also protect even babies, children and women as they are the topmost victims of second-hand smoke,” he said.
The minister urged Nigerians to report infringements on provisions of the National Tobacco Control Laws and Regulations to the Law Enforcement Agencies.
According to him, beyond the environment, tobacco use, including exposure to second-hand smoke, has contributed to 12 per cent of all deaths from heart disease and is the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease, second only to high blood pressure.
He said that while these numbers were bad for tobacco users, it was important to remember that nearly 900,000 people were killed by breathing in second-hand smoke.
“In addition to heart disease and hypertension, tobacco use and second-hand smoke cause other notable non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
“From the 2012 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 5.6 per cent (4.5 million) Nigerians 15 years and older currently use tobacco products of which 3.9 per cent (3.1 million) are current smokers.
“The result also found high and significant exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) during visits to public places with the prevalence of 82 per cent in , 36.3 per cent in coffee shops, 22.3 per cent in universities and 29.3 per cent in restaurants.
“The Tobacco Atlas sixth edition estimates that more than 26,800 annual deaths occur from tobacco-related diseases in Nigeria.
“Similarly, a report of studies by the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa, which was published in 2021, corroborated that 29,472 deaths were attributable to smoking in Nigeria,” he noted.
The minister said that globally, there was a coordinated effort to hold accountable the people behind this ugly trend.
“The campaign for this year’s World No Tobacco day also aims at exposing the efforts of tobacco companies to “greenwash” their reputation by presenting themselves as environmentally friendly.
“The campaign opens our eyes to the environmental impact of the entire tobacco cycle, from its cultivation, production and distribution to the toxic waste it generates.
“According to WHO report, every year, tobacco production contributes 84 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the air; this is equivalent to 3 million transatlantic flights.
“Tobacco companies use up nearly 600 million trees every year in producing cigarettes.
“Globally, tobacco companies expend about 22 billion tonnes of water every year in tobacco production, this is the equivalent of 15 million Olympic-sized swimming pools.
“4.5 trillion cigarette butts are discarded improperly every year, making it the single largest type of litter in the world,” he explained.
Mamora said that while efforts were ongoing at the global level to address the damages caused by tobacco use, the FMoH had not relented at the country level with so many responses.
“For instance, the Federal Government of Nigeria with effect from June, 1, 2022, commenced implementation of a new three-year tobacco tax regime which will end in 2024.
“This new regime increased the Ad-Valorem tax rate from 20 per cent to 30.
“In addition to the 30 per cent ad-valorem, a specific excise rate has been increased from ₦58 to ₦84 per pack of 20 sticks of cigarette, and this will further be increased to ₦94 per pack in 2023; and then ₦104 per pack in 2024.
“Also, Shisha is now taxed at the rate of ₦3,000 per litre and ₦1,000 per kilogram and this will be increased yearly by ₦500,” he disclosed.
He said that this pro-health tax was an effective public health control measure against behavioural risk factors aimed at reducing the demand and consumption of tobacco products.
“It also prompts tobacco users to switch expending their resources on tobacco products to healthy alternatives such as education, health, nutrition, etc. This is good thinking.
“ In compliance with the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 and Regulations 2019, the Ministry, with support from the National Tobacco Control Committee (NATOCC), has commenced screening and issuance of an operational licence to qualified major tobacco businesses in Nigeria.
This is “with the view to profiling and monitoring tobacco industry activities nationwide.
“In addition, the tobacco industry must ensure that the unit packages of all their tobacco products have the approved text and health warning message so that the public, especially tobacco users, are made aware of the harmful effects of tobacco use,” he added.
In his goodwill message, WHO Country Rep, Dr Walter Mulombo, commended tobacco control advocates for defending the flag of the country through different initiatives to combat tobacco use.
According to Mulombo, saying ‘no’ to tobacco is saying ‘yes’ to life.
“Let us save lives around us by making them aware of the threats tobacco poses to all of us.”
According to NATOCC’s Executive Director, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, there is the need to get Tobacco Industry players to be accountable for the harm they cause to the environment and the people.
Oluwafemi reiterated that Tobacco threatened more than just the health of its users.
According to him, “let’s not allow tobacco to turn our happiness into ashes. Let’s be a part of the solution not part of the pollution”.
NAN recalls that some of the sidelines of the event were an award presentation by WHO, to Mrs Margaret Julius, for her advocacy work on ‘No Tobacco in Nigeria’, in collaboration with the Nigerian Police, among others.
Meanwhile, the theme for this year’s campaign, “Tobacco: A Threat to our environment”, is aimed at creating awareness about the environmental impact of tobacco, to educate people on the dangers and health risks of tobacco use, and ultimately to prevent and control the use of tobacco around the world.
Tobacco damages the environment by contributing grossly to global warming.
The environmental damage comes from the various stages of tobacco cultivation, production, distribution and usage.
Within the health arena, it is well documented how environmental factors are so closely interlinked and can often be traced as the root cause of poor health and well-being.
Therefore, we must work together, taking action in promoting the elimination of tobacco use both locally and globally. .
The Eye Opener Women and Youth Foundation, an NGO, has promised to support the prevention and reduction of drug abuse in Kaduna State.
Mrs Margaret Julius, President of the organisation made the commitment on Friday, during a visit to the Kaduna State Bureau for substance Abuse, Prevention and Treatment (KADBUSA) to mark the global free drug day .
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is observed globally on June 26, every year.
This year has as its theme, “better knowledge for better care”.
“We are visiting today as an organisation to join in the fight against drugs with KADBUSA by creating more awareness in the community on the dangers of drug abuse ” Julius said.
She said that the organisation has been conducting programmes against drug abuse and dangerous smoking addiction to save youths who are the future leaders from self destruction.
According to her, we are creating awareness, sensitization programme and teaching in communities while one of our cardinal programme is war against drug abuse to save future leaders.
She further said that the NGO has been working and understudying the root causes of drugs by teaching the youths and reforming them to come out of the abuse.
“Our foundation is a grassroots one, we have opportunity to reach out to the youths and also the women,” she said.
Julius noted that drug abuse has become an enemy in the whole world, which was why the organisation desired to partner with the bureau to free the state from drugs.
She added that if drug abuse was not well handled it could increase the spread of COVID-19.
”The youths now share needle with drugs which can lead to transmission of Coronavirus.
“This is why we are committed to working towards bringing an end to the scourge ” she said.
In his remarks, Dr Joseph Maigari, Director-General, KADBUSA said that substance abuse was a pandemic and huge problem for the society.
”We are faced with two problems, the COVID-19 pandemic and that of substance abuse,”Maigari noted, and warned suppliers of illicit drugs that the state was no longer a place for them to carry out their nefarious trade.
He reiterated government commitment to support and rehabilitate those addicted to drugs.
“We are working on preventing new cases while treating existing ones together with various NGOs that will help to reduce the demand for substance abuse in the state ” he said
Th KADBUSA boss said that drug abuse would not be tackled by managing only the supply side, but also through reduced demand.
”That is why the government created KADBUSA. A combination of reduction of demand of drugs and supply will bring solution to this problems and Kaduna is moving in the right direction ” he said.
Maigari called for more funding to tackle the menace as recent survey has shown rise in substance use.
He advised young people and women to help in the fight by eschewing the use of dangerous drugs that would affect their mental function and social well-being.
Edited By: Chinyere Bassey/Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)
The Eye Opener Women and Youth Foundation, on Tuesday pledged to support the National Drugs Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA) in its fight against drugs abuse in the country.
President of the organization, Mrs Margaret Julius, gave the pledge when she visited the Kaduna State Command of the NDLEA.
The visit was part of activities lined up by the foundation to mark the 2020 International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking, observed globally on June 26, every year.
She explained that the foundation was set to reach out to youth across the state, especially “the confused, rejected and hopeless, as well as the destitute” to create awareness, reform and empower them with skills to be better citizens.
She added that the organisation has been conducting programmes against drug abuse and dangerous smoking addiction, to save the youth from self destruction.
“Our fight is against illicit drugs and we are determined to fight it in our communities.
“We are targeting the victims and getting them out of it, reforming and empowering them so that they can become what they are supposed to be in their communities,” she said.
According to her, drug abuse has become an epidemic requiring the support of all stakeholders to contain and save the country’s future leaders from destruction.
Mrs Julius said that a recent study has indicated that 70 per cent of the youth live unsecured lives, getting them exposed to all forms of social vices including drug abuse.
“Our work is to go to the root of the problems and we are all ready to collaborate with like minded people to get the youth back to the right path.”
In his remarks, the state NDLEA Commander, Mohammed Abdullahi, represented by his deputy, Uche Ike, noted that youth now use all sorts of concoctions to get intoxicated.
Abdullahi said the NDLEA would work with the foundation to sanitise communities against illicit drug use.
He said parents must discharge their responsibilities properly, to reduce the scourge of drug addiction in communities.
“As you interact with communities and families, try to find out some of the challenges and address them. Tell them that using drugs will not make one a good person, but only push one into hopelessness in future.”
He stressed that the NDLEA welcome the collaboration, as it could not carry out such enormous responsibility alone.
According to him, drug abuse is a serious matter, with devastating consequences on the society.
The NDLEA commander, however, said creating the right awareness among vulnerable groups, as being done by the foundation, would greatly limit the problem.
Edited By: Maharazu Ahmed (NAN)