By Franca Ofili
The Federal Government has reaffirmed its commitment to tackle tobacco use by children in Nigeria .
Dr Jamila Ibrahim, Minister of Youth and Development said this in Abuja on Friday when Ms Bintou Camara, Regional Director, Tobacco Control Programme (AFRO) Campaign for Tobacco – Free Kids paid her a courtesy visit.
Ibrahim said that tobacco smoking among children was a big challenge facing the country.
The minister said Nigeria needs to partner and collaborate with relevant stakeholders to educate Nigerian to understand the health implication of tobacco smoking among young people.
“We will focus on adolescent heath. It is the area we need to be proactive in putting mechanisms in place to achieve a preventive approach tobacco smoking among the kids.
“We must work with the act that bans tobacco smoking in public places especially to prevent second hand smoke,” she said.
Also speaking, Camara said that the organisation was in the country to campaign and educate Nigerians on the danger of tobacco smoking.
“We are the leading advocacy organisations in the world that advocate against tobacco smoking.
“We are focusing on tobacco control.
“Tobacco smoking is the leading cause of preventable deaths that is why is it important that we tackle tobacco prevention,” she said.
According to her, tobacco companies targets the young people in other to safe guard their profits.
Camara said that it was important to tackle tobacco control because the world was facing an incredible enemy that may affect public health issues.
She said that the organisation had been working for more than 25 years to educate the youths on the danger of tobacco smoking.
“The organisation has fought to protect children and save lives from cause of preventable death.
“Our vision is a future free of the death and disease caused by tobacco. Because tobacco has killed enough,” Camara said.
According to her, It is the tobacco industry that is searching confidently to target young people in other to safe guard the profilt over public health.
She said that Nigeria was the most important market in Africa and probably the world with beautiful, powerful and strong number of young people in the continent.
“Most important thing for us is to raise awareness, educate youths on the consequences of tobacco use.
“Tobacco smoking has killed eight million people a year and out of the number 1.2m die from second hand smoke which means you don’t have to be a smoker, you can die from it, suffer from it whether you want it or not,” she said.
Camara said that the country had passed the tobacco smoking law, saying that implementation and enforcing was most important, especially for the young people .
She described tobacco as the entering way to other drugs that generates negative condequence which include mental health, lost of productive life, lost of good health, and education among others.(NAN)