To discourage people from tobacco consumption, the World Health Organisation, WHO has called on all its member states including Nigeria, to increase taxes on cigarettes consumption.
The WHO said this in a statement in commemoration of the ‘World No Tobacco Day’, a day set aside to highlight the dangers associated with using tobacco, and to press for policies to reduce tobacco use.
The statement read in part, “World No Tobacco Day is a chance for governments and the public to take firm action. Today, I call upon member states to implement measures which will strengthen tobacco control as found in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
“Effective measures to reduce tobacco demand which can be accomplished in a short time and at reasonable cost include increasing tobacco taxes and prices, which will save lives as well as generate money for governments.
“Other steps include creating completely smoke-free indoor workplaces and public places, instituting hard-hitting warnings and graphic pictures about the dangers of smoking on cigarette packaging, and banning tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship.”
Stressing the importance of this year’s theme, tagged, ‘Tobacco and heart disease,’ which focuses on tobacco use as a key risk factor for developing heart and related diseases, including stroke, the WHO said the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest health threats in the world.
The organisation said “tobacco kills more than seven million people each year.”
It added, “Tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke contribute to about 12 per cent of all heart disease deaths. There is no safe level for people, particularly children, women and workers, who have to be in the same room as smokers.
“In the African Region, about 146, 000 adults aged 30 years and above die every year from tobacco-related diseases. When tobacco users die prematurely in their productive years, families lose loved ones and income, and economic development is negatively affected.”