The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Health, Mr Abdullahi Mashi, has urged Nigerians to support the fight against tobacco to avert lung diseases and other tobacco-related conditions in the country.
Mashi made the call in Abuja on Saturday at the commemoration of 2019 World No Tabacco Day.
This year’s theme is “Tobacco and Lung Health”.
Mashi said that the event sought to raise awareness on the magnitude of illnesses and deaths from lung diseases, including cancer of the lungs, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pulmonary tuberculosis.
He said that evidence had shown that the diseases could all be caused by direct tobacco use and exposure to second hand-tobacco smoke.
He also said that the commemoration was meant to bring stakeholders on board to reinforce the ministry’s efforts in the promotion of “lung health” with a view to achieving overall health and well-being of Nigerians.
”Although tobacco is a legitimate product, its use in any form or disguise, including exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke, is very hazardous as it has no permissible safe limit.
”Laboratory analysis shows that tobacco smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals of which at least 250 are proven to be harmful and more than 69 are known to cause cancer.
”According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, there are over 1.1 billion adult smokers worldwide and at least 367 million persons use smokeless tobacco products.
”Eight million die annually through the effect of tobacco of which over six million are by direct use and about 890,000 by exposure to second-hand smoke.
”At least 50 per cent of lifetime tobacco smokers will die before they reach 70 years of age, and the average loss of life from smoking is a full decade of life,” he said.
Mashi, therefore, urge all Nigerians to do their best to prevent tobacco-related lung diseases.
According to him, globally, lung cancer, which is the most deadly cancer, kills 1.76 million people each year of which approximately 37,748 of the deaths occur in Africa.