Despite the campaign against the consumption of tobacco, the number of Nigerians who smoke cigarettes stand at about 3.1 million, the Paediatric Association of Nigeria has said.
The organisation put the daily number of Nigerian smokers at 2.4 million and warned that by 2030, it had been estimated that about eight million persons worldwide would die annually from tobacco use.
According to PAN, smoking has a record of causing respiratory tract infections, decreased lung function, asthma attacks, ear infections and tooth decay.
Others included sudden infant death syndrome, death from respiratory infection, asthma, cognitive and behavioural issues, including the likelihood of becoming smokers.
The Technical Director of PAN and Chief Medical Director of Bingham University Teaching Hospital in Jos, Prof. Edwin Eseigbe, stated these in Abuja, while delivering a paper titled, ‘Protecting the Nigerian child from tobacco use and smoke through anti-tobacco advocacy and capacity development.’
The event which was attended by the President of PAN and Medical Consultant at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Prof. Austine Omoigberale; former President of PAN, Prof. William Ogala; and Secretary of PAN, Damian Nwaneri, Associate Professor in UBTH, was in commemoration of this year’s World No Tobacco Day, which has the theme, ‘Tobacco and the lung health.’
Omoigberale said everything must be done to save pregnant women and their babies from the dangerous effects of tobacco smoke.
“This type of smoke has been found out to have adverse effects on the liver and lungs. Children, especially crawling children, are particularly vulnerable to this type of smoke”, he stated.
Eseigbe called for concerted efforts towards discouraging smoking in Nigeria through drastic measures including heavy taxation, enforcement on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship.
He said, “Over 25 million Nigerian children and adolescents constitute the school population and are at risk of tobacco use or smoke exposure. Tobacco use has serious health and social implications. Tobacco is a risk factor for the six leading causes of death. It is estimated that by 2030, about eight million persons (worldwide) will die per year from tobacco use.
“In Nigeria, the yearly tobacco-related death is 16,100. It has been reported that 4.7 million Nigerians use tobacco products. 3.1 million smoke and 2.4 million are daily smokers. 3.6 -16.2 per cent in-school Nigerian adolescents aged 13-15 years smoke. 20-50 per cent of these in-school children are exposed or at risk of being exposed to second hand smoke. Childhood tobacco use and exposure to smoke in Nigeria has grave implications.”
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