The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, has revealed that statistics show that Nigeria records over 16,100 deaths from tobacco-related diseases every year.
He made this known in Abuja, while speaking at a forum to commemorate the “World No Tobacco Day”, with the theme “Commit to Quit”.
The Minister said the theme came at a good time when the global community was battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Minister revealed that “The death toll from tobacco is high in Nigeria.”
He said, “This is especially so, as evidence has shown that tobacco users and those with underlying non Communicable Diseases (NCDs) are at higher risk of severe Covid-19 outcomes. Assisting people to quit tobacco use will therefore improve COVID-19 treatment outcomes,”
He further said “tobacco use or exposure to second-hand smoke is the leading preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) like hypertension, stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.”
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, said WHO wishes to scale-up programmes to help people quit tobacco.
She said WHO(HQ/AFRO) has selected 22 countries, Nigeria inclusive, they intend to support at the primary health care and community levels.
She however, called on the Minister of Health to provide a space within the ministry, with a view to setting-up a call center office from which counsellors will respond to caller needs.