June 12, 2024

The Claver Magazine

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“World No Tobacco Day” Re-Echoes Substance Use’s Negative Impact on Environment, Family, and Society

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Peterclaver Egbochue

As the World Health Organization, WHO, and other concerned health campaigners observe the 2023 “World No Tobacco Day,” a call has gone to people particularly the youth to beware of the inherent dangers associated with the use of tobacco products.

Pharmacist Stephen Akobundu, who made the call in Lagos while speaking on the significance of “World No Tobacco Day,” disclosed that the day is set aside by the WHO to remind individuals and the government about the danger of using tobacco products on the body and its effect on the family, society at large and even the environment and the need to regulate its use.

In an exclusive interview with The Claver Magazine, Pharm. Akobundu lamented that in spite of the inscription on the packet of tobacco products that “smokers are liable to die young,” a lot of people particularly youths still indulge in smoking.

“How can you see that this product is dangerous to your body when you consume it, and you still go ahead to consume it? It’s as if some people are determined to kill themselves,” he maintained.   

He said a lot of the youth are yielding to peer pressure thereby subjecting themselves to avoidable risks and or death and called on parents to monitor their children and wards closely.  

“The day is quite significant as it draws our attention to the dangers of using tobacco products on our body which could lead to things like cancer of the lung,” he added.  

He also called on the Federal government to come up with stringent regulations that would discourage smoking in public to avoid endangering other people’s lives in public places.

According to available statistics by the Centre for Diseases Control and Prevention (CDC), “more than 16 million Americans are living with a disease caused by smoking. For every person who dies because of smoking, at least 30 people live with a serious smoking-related illness. Smoking causes cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis. Smoking also increases the risk for tuberculosis, certain eye diseases, and problems of the immune system, including rheumatoid arthritis.”

Every 31st May is observed as “World No Tobacco Day”, organized by the World Health Organization to promote awareness about the risk related to the consumption of tobacco and its product and its ill effect on the family, society, and environment.

The theme for 2023, World No Tobacco Day is “We Need Food, Not Tobacco”,

The 2023 global campaign intends to encourage tobacco growers to produce nutrient-dense, sustainable crops by increasing awareness of alternative crop production and marketing prospects. It also aims to draw attention to the tobacco industry’s attempts to obstruct initiatives to replace tobacco farming with sustainable crops, which would worsen the world food crisis.

There is no proven health benefit of tobacco. On the contrary, it results in illness, impairment, and early mortality. The goal of tobacco control measures is to significantly and continuously lower tobacco consumption and smoke exposure.

According to the WHO regional office for Africa, Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) sets forth different tobacco control measures to be implemented in order to prevent people especially the youth from starting to use tobacco; help current tobacco users to quit and; protect non-smokers from exposure to second-hand smoke.

It added that strengthening the implementation of the WHO FCTC is one of the big challenges for countries in the African Region, noting that developing comprehensive tobacco control legislation and building capacity for its effective enforcement is crucial for Member States of the Region.

According to data available, around 3.5 million hectares of land are converted each year for tobacco farming worldwide. Additionally, tobacco farming adds to the annual loss of 200 000 hectares of forest.

It takes a lot of resources to cultivate tobacco, and pesticides and fertilizers are frequently used, which degrades the soil.

Since tobacco depletes soil fertility, land used for cultivating tobacco has a lower capability for growing other crops, such as food.

As tobacco farmlands are more prone to desertification, tobacco production has a much greater detrimental effect on ecosystems than other agricultural operations like maize growing and even cattle grazing.