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.
Some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) have called on the Federal Government to reinvigorate the enforcement of the smoke-free public places policy and the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorships (TAPS).
They made the call in Abuja on Monday at a news conference in commemorating the 2022 World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) with the theme “Protect the Environment’’.
The organisations are, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and Centre for the Study of the Economics of Africa (CSEA)
The Executive Director of CAPPA, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, said that the theme of the Day highlighted that, throughout its lifecycle, tobacco polluted the planet and damaged the health of all people.
Oluwafemi urged the Federal Government to look inwards and revisit the status of tobacco control in the country.
“As Nigeria joins the global community in commemorating the 2022 WNTD, the Nigerian government and the public health community should look inwards and revisit the status of tobacco control in the country.
“Especially the enforcement of the smoke-free public places policy contained in the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015. The indoor public places where smoking is restricted listed in the Second Schedule of the Act.
“These include healthcare facilities, primary and secondary education facilities, shops, police stations and prisons, higher education facilities, transport facilities, theaters, cinemas and stadiums amongst others,’’ he said.
According to him, unfortunately, Section 9 of the Act provides for Designated Smoking Areas (DSA) to be created where there are sufficient number of rooms where smoking is prohibited.
“This provision falls short of the obligations of Parties implementing Article 8 of the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on providing effective protection from public and workplace exposure to tobacco smoke.
“WHO-FCTC completely prohibits smoking in all parts of all indoor public places; on all means of public transportation; and in specified outdoor or quasi-outdoor spaces,’’ Oluwafemi said.
According to the CAPPA chief, these are places where hazard exists due to tobacco smoke exposure.
He said that due to the lacuna in the Act, Nigerians, including children who were non-smokers were exposed to secondhand smoke daily in many indoor public spaces.
“Non-smokers working in bars and restaurants where cigarettes, shisha and other tobacco products are brazenly displayed and consumed are also victims.
“In the light of the above, CAPPA recommends that Nigerian government should reinvigorate the enforcement of the smoke- free public places policy.
“Government should enforce the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorships (TAPS) as it pertains to the entertainment and movies sector,’’ Oluwafemi said.
According to him, it should promote inter-agency collaboration and synergy in the enforcement of the ban on TAPS and the smoke-free public places policy.
“Government should also initiate or strengthen schemes to make tobacco manufacturers responsible for the environmental and economic costs of tobacco product waste,’’ he said.
The Project Officer of NTCA, Mr Nwokorie Chibuike, urged government to provide support to tobacco farmers to switch to an alternative.
According to him, from cultivation which involves the use of pesticides that are harmful to tobacco growers, to the cutting and burning of trees for tobacco curing which leads to deforestation.
He said that more viable and sustainable livelihood to reduce the environmental impact of tobacco-growing, curing and manufacturing should be provided.
Mrs Hilda Ochefu, Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called for citizens’ advocacy and enforcement of the smoke-free public places policy.
Ochefu said that every Nigerian had a role to play in the advocacy and enforcement of the smoke-free public places policy.
She said that citizens’ participation would go a long way in preventing tobacco smoking from endangering the future and health of Nigerians especially children.
Mr Austine Iraoya, a Research Associate with the Centre for the Study of the Economics of Africa, urged the Federal Government to increase 25 per cent tax on tobacco to 75 per cent to meet WHO standard.
“Globally, tobacco smoking keeps reducing in other continents but in Africa, it keeps increasing due to lack of control and enforcement of the smoke-free public places policy.
“ The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) tax on tobacco is 50 per cent while WHO standard is 75 per cent.
“So, Nigerian government needs to increase its 25 per cent to 75 per cent as part of measures to control tobacco smoking in Nigeria.
“It is imperative because tobacco is not only harmful to the environment but also endangers the health of consumers and non- consumers,’’ Iraoya said. (