As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to mark No Tobacco Day 2021, the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC) has called on government at all levels to invest in promoting cessation, by developing evidence-based, cost effective strategies and guidelines, and allocate adequate resources for the programme’s implementation.
CISLAC executive director Auwal Ibrahim Musa made the call yesterday during a media briefing to commemorate the 2021 World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) in Abuja.
He said over 1.3 billion people in the world use tobacco and over 80 per cent of this population live in low and middle-income countries where the burden of tobacco related illness and death is very heavy.
Nigeria is the most populous country in Africa and has one leading tobacco market with over 18 billion cigarettes sold annually. WHO data shows that tobacco accounts for an estimated 16,100 deaths annually in Nigeria.
According to him, the Article 14 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) promotes tobacco cessation awareness and support for tobacco dependence.
He added that Nigeria has put in place all the mechanisms for implementation of some of the FCTC measures but lamented that the measure of adopting cessation programmes designed to offer help for smokers to quit remains largely underutilised.
“As the country continues to delay on implementation of cessation programmes, the tobacco industry is already miles ahead in investing massively in strategies and technology aimed at initiating young people.
“As we celebrate WNTD today, CISLAC is calling on government at all levels in Nigeria to invest in promoting cessation, by developing evidence based, cost effective strategies, and guidelines, allocating adequate resources for programme’s implementation. Free counselling must be provided for those who are eager to quit and also for those that quit. Mass communication initiatives that encourage quitting must be part of cessation programmes,” he stated.