Health professionals have been advised to offer smokers help to quit, because smokers advised to quit were at least five times more likely to commit to quitting.
The advice came at a meeting of stakeholders in Lagos to commemorate this year’s World No Tobacco Day.
Experts said that the Nigerian government must incorporate tobacco cessation advice into primary healthcare services.
Dr Francis Fagbule of the University College Hospital (UCH), highlighted a recent secondary analysis of the 2012 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) conducted across Nigeria in an ongoing collaborative study between efako Makgatho Health Sciences University (SMU) represented by Prof Lekan Ayo-Yusuf and UCH represented by Dr Fagbule.
The analysis found that only one in four predominantly male smokers were offered quit advice by a healthcare practitioner.
“This is despite the fact those male Nigerian smokers advised to quit were at least five times more likely to commit to quitting, which has been associated with eventually successfully quitting,” Dr Fagbule stated.
Also speaking, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, Corporate Accountability & Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) said that the World No Tobacco Day, for Nigeria, “In as much as we join the global call encouraging smokers to quit, we must equally highlight the fact that the environment required to make this happen in Nigeria has not been created.”
Oluwafemi noted that “the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 that can make that environment a reality are yet to be enforced.”
He said, “The delay in the enforcement of the Act and the Regulation has created loopholes that the tobacco industry exploits to further their business interests. Noticeably, they now target kids as replacement smokers by their flouting of the ban on tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorships in the entertainment and media sectors.
“These setbacks, notwithstanding, we want to remind the Nigerian government that its adoption of the guidelines of Article 14 of the WHO Framework for Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) in 2010, mandates it to promote cessation of tobacco use by incorporating tobacco cessation advice into primary health-care services.”
The CAPPA boss added that government must exploit all available options to protect the next generation of Nigerian kids from taking up nicotine addiction and assist current smokers to quit. Part of the ways to do this is to integrate smoking cessation, awareness and counseling into National Healthcare delivery systems.
He also called for the enforcement of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 without delay.