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WHO advocates tobacco ban in Nigeria

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The World Health Organisation (WHO) has called for a ban on tobacco products in the country.

The WHO Country Representative in Nigeria, Dr. Walter Mulombo, made the call at a news conference to commemorate the 2024 World No Tobacco Day on Friday in Abuja.

He charged all stakeholders to ensure that future generations are free from the dangers of tobacco and nicotine addiction.

Mulombo said: “I dream of the day when tobacco products will be banned in Nigeria.”

He also charged the Federal Government to hold the tobacco industry accountable for the harm caused to health, the environment, and the economy.

Tobacco is responsible for more than eight million deaths annually, with more than seven million of the deaths being results of direct tobacco use, while around 1.2 million non-smokers die from exposure to second-hand smoke.

“A recently released report by WHO termed ‘Hooking the Next Generation’ showed that an estimated 37 million children aged 13 to 15 years use tobacco, and in many countries, the rate of e-cigarette use among adolescents exceeds that of adults.

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“The report also indicated that most adults who use tobacco started when they were children or young adults, with lifetime users most likely to become hooked before the age of 21 years.

“This indicates that the industry targets youths for a lifetime of profits, creating a new wave of addiction.

“Companies rapidly launch new products that sidestep, or are not included, in current laws, and use every available means to expand their market share before regulations can catch up with them.

“Unfortunately, these tactics are working. Evidence from around the world shows an alarming uptake by children of some products, such as e-cigarettes.

“The tobacco industry is succeeding in its efforts to create a new generation of young people who smoke, vape, suck nicotine pouches or use snuff.”

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