The Minister of Health, Osagie Ehanire, yesterday said a research finding published in 2021 by the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa showed that 29,472 deaths in Nigeria were attributable to smoking.
He said this in Abuja while quoting the 2018 Tobacco Atlas report, during the commemoration of World No Tobacco Day.
“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 said.
According to him, Nigeria records over 16, 100 deaths from tobacco-related diseases every year, stressing that “The death toll from tobacco is high in Nigeria.”
He 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.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, said Nigeria was selected as one of the 22 countries for support by WHO (HQ/AFRO) to scale up programmes to help people quit tobacco, especially at the primary health care and community levels.
She called on the minister to identify a space within the ministry to set up a call centre office from which the counsellors will respond to caller needs.
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