CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

Nigeria Spends N26.4bn Annually On Tobacco Induced Deseases

***Imports Tobacco From 44 Countries As 29,000 People Die Yearly

ABUJA – Nigeria Health System spends about N29.4 billion annually on tobacco induced diseases, about 1.7 billion USD annually and also records annual death rate of about 29,000 people from tobacco induced diseases on a yearly basis, statistics from reeled out at a press conference marking World Tobacco Day 2022, has revealed.

Meanwhile, the press conference organized by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) as part of activities to mark this year’s World Tobacco Day, also revealed that smoking has been on the increase in Africa with Nigeria still import tobacco leaves from about 44 countries.

Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, said the theme of this year’s World Tobacco Day is ‘Protect the Environment’

Oluwafemi, explained that the message behind the theme of WNTD 2022 is the fact that, throughout its lifecycle, tobacco contaminates the environment and impacts adversely on the health of consumers and non-consumers alike.

“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 (about 3.5 million hectares of land are destroyed each year) and the use of large quantities of water to cultivate tobacco, the health of man and the ecosystem is negatively impacted, and climate resilience reduced.

“In the manufacturing of cigarettes, tobacco companies are believed to contribute 84 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent to greenhouse gases. Disturbingly, because of stringent laws in the Global North, most of the tobacco corporations have relocated to low and middle-income countries like Nigeria.

“As these companies continue their active marketing of lethal products in Africa, so do they also concentrate about 90% of tobacco production in the same region which now bears the highest environmental burdens.

“80% of over 8 million people that die every year due to tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke live in low and middle-income countries under which Nigeria is categorized.

“It is therefore fitting that as Nigeria joins the global community in commemorating the 2022 WNTD, the Nigerian government and the public health community 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 CAPPA boss therefore recommended that Nigeria reinvigorate the enforcement the smoke free public places policy; Enforce the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorships (TAPS) ban as it pertains to the entertainment and movies sector.

Other recommendations made at the event include to promote inter-agency collaboration and synergy in the enforcement of the ban on TAPS and the smoke free public places policy; Initiate or strengthen schemes to make tobacco manufacturers responsible for the environmental and economic costs of tobacco product waste, as well as provide support to tobacco farmers to switch to alternative, more viable and sustainable livelihoods to reduce the environmental impact of tobacco growing, curing, and manufacturing.

Source: Independent

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