Health Minister Isaac Adewole has revealed 4.2 million Nigerians consume over 20 billion cigarettes annually, and about 82 per cent of people who visit bars and nightclubs are exposed to second-hand smoke.
The minister said this during a press briefing organised to mark the 2018 World No-Tobacco Day celebration in Abuja on Monday. The day is celebrated every May 31, and this year’s was themed “Tobacco and Heart Disease.”
According to him, in 2015, the country’s projected accumulated loss to tobacco was put at $7.6 billion.
“Let me draw attention to the fact that tobacco use is responsible for huge economic losses emanating from both direct and indirect medical costs,” Adewole said.
“It is estimated that Nigeria losses $800 million annually to stroke, heart disease and diabetes.”
For every $1 gained from tobacco business, about $3 is expended on healthcare cost, he said, noting that the tobacco industry is only interested in making huge profit without taking responsibility for the harm they do to public health.
Adewole also spoke on the trending shisha (flavoured tobacco) among young Nigerians.
“A key outcome of this review was the ban on all characterising flavours including the addition of menthol into tobacco products,” he said.
“This decision is to protect our children from getting enticed by flavoured tobacco products
I therefore urge the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and the law enforcement agencies to intensify arrest of defaulters,” he said.
In his speech at the event, the World Health Organisation (WHO) country representative, Wondi Alemu, said tobacco control is one of the most effective means to achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which target, by 2030, premature deaths from non-communicable diseases.
“On average, tobacco users lose 15 years of life. In the African Region, about 146,000 adults, aged 30 years and above, die every year from tobacco related diseases,” he said.