By Ayodeji Ake
Tobacco use and second-hand smoke is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD), including coronary heart disease, stroke and peripheral vascular disease; contributing about 12 per cent death from heart disease, the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF), has said.
Addressing journalists at a press briefing in Lagos recently to commemorate the World No-Tobacco Day 2018, themed ‘Tobacco and heart disease’, the Chairman, Executive Council, NHF, Dr. Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal noted that according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), tobacco use kills seven million people worldwide each year and that number is predicted to grow unless anti-tobacco actions are increased.
He said: “In Africa, the number of smokers continues to increase progressively in spite of more than 52 countries becoming signatory to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) since 2005. Though the prevalence of tobacco use remains low in African region, the positive economic growth in some countries , and the rapid inflow of transnational tobacco companies in many African countries continue to contribute to increasing tobacco use rates” he said.
Olufemi lamented that implementation of the FCTC in Africa was still very poor amidst stiff competition with the growing number of tobacco companies in Africa. In comparison,, he said “In United State, tobacco use is the largest preventable cause of death and disease. Tobacco is recognized as a cause of heart disease, stroke, lung disease and other health problems”.
Olufemi revealed that the foundation was working on an essay competition amongst secondary school students to write on the ‘hazards of tobacco to the heart: role of stakeholders in Nigeria’ and to draw like conclusion on ending tobacco consumption.
Commenting on increasing prevalence rate of tobacco use base on data, the Executive Director, NHF, Dr. Kingsley Akinroye said the first data on tobacco was in 1990, which then showed the prevalence was about five percent. In 2003, it increased to about 10 per cent and youth survey revealed that population of the youths smoking tobacco in Nigeria is about 18 per cent.
On adult data, kingsley said the data is still very low but it will be on high risk not creating awareness on tobacco hazards because It takes about 20 years before tobacco react in the body which could mean that in the next 20 years there may be an increase in tobacco hazard.