HomeNewsWHO Advocates Smoke-Free Policy In Public Places In Nigeria

WHO Advocates Smoke-Free Policy In Public Places In Nigeria

Nigeria: As the world celebrates World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), the World Health Organization (WHO) has called on governments at all levels to implement a smoke-free public place policy in Nigeria.

While commending the efforts of other countries in this regard, WHO tasked policymakers to step up legislation, including implementing and strengthening existing schemes to make producers responsible for the environmental and economic costs of dealing with tobacco waste products.

It further recommended that countries should fully ban tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, including advertisement of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programmes in accordance with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).

80 per cent of over eight million people who die every year due to tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke live in low- and middle-income countries.

In a statement, the global body said “from start to finish, the tobacco life cycle is an overwhelmingly polluting and damaging process. Air pollution caused by smoking comes to mind, but damage occurs across the entire supply chain and is much more complex.

The global agency noted: “Across the globe, around 3.5 million hectares of land are destroyed to grow tobacco each year. Growing tobacco also contributes to the deforestation of 200,000 hectares a year and soil degradation.

“Tobacco production depletes the planet of water, fossil fuel and metal resources. Globalization of the tobacco supply chain and sales means the tobacco industry relies heavily on resource-intensive modes of transport.

“4.5 trillion cigarette butts are not disposed of properly every year across the globe, generating 1.69 billion pounds of toxic waste and releasing thousands of chemicals into the air, water and soil.”

The smoke-free public policy seeks to promote a safer environment for all.

Speaking in the same vein at a press briefing in Abuja to commemorate the World No Tobacco Day 2022 in Abuja, the Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Akinbode Oluwafemi said 80 per cent of over eight million people who die every year due to tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke live in low- and middle-income countries under which Nigeria is categorized.

Oluwafemi noted that it is therefore fitting that as Nigeria joins the global community in celebrating 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.

He said the indoor public places where smoking is restricted and listed in the Second Schedule of the Act include healthcare facilities, primary and secondary education facilities, shops, police stations and prisons, higher education facilities, transport facilities, theatres, cinemas, and stadiums among others.

WNTD is a day set aside by WHO and its partners to draw attention to the health risks associated with tobacco use and encourage governments to adopt effective policies to reduce smoking and consequences of its use. The theme of WNTD 2022 is “Tobacco’s threat to our environment.”

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