The World Health Organisation has revealed that around 1.2million non-smokers die from exposure to tobacco smoke every year.
Dr. Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa disclosed this in her message for this year’s World No Tobacco Day.
TheFact Nigeria gathered that the international community commemorates World No Tobacco Day every 31st of May, to remind everyone that tobacco kills half of its users.
The theme this year was “Commit to quit” because the choice to stop tobacco use is in our hands.
She also disclosed that Millions of people were motivated to quit tobacco during the COVID-19 pandemic because of evidence showing tobacco smoking impairs lung function, making it harder for the body to fight off coronaviruses and other diseases.
“Tobacco use harms nearly every organ in the human body. Even smoking one cigarette a day can seriously harm a person’s health.
“Tobacco use can lead to lung, mouth, throat, oesophagus, stomach, bowel and other cancers.
“It increases the risk of chest and lung infections, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and other conditions. There is no safe form of tobacco,” she said.
According to her, Of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally, 60% have expressed the desire to quit but only 30% have access to the tools to do so successfully.
Therefore, WHO introduced “Florence” a digital health worker who gives brief advice on how to quit and link people with the tools and solutions that can help.
Speaking further, she revealed that more than 75 million people in the African Region use some form of tobacco.
And that the WHO, was supporting countries to scale-up programmes to help people quit tobacco, especially at the primary health care and community levels.
Some of the support she highlighted include:
National toll-free lines where tobacco users can call and get advice, available in six countries.
Nicotine replacement therapy sold in pharmacies in 19 countries with governments fully covering the costs in Eswatini, Mauritius and Seychelles.
“mTobaccoCessation,” a mobile text messaging-based solution, being implemented in Burkina Faso.
Support to quit services available in primary health care facilities in 11 countries and in Angola, Botswana and Zambia these offered at no cost to consumers.
She called on governments and communities to be alert to industry tactics to attract new users and keep people using tobacco, even when they are trying to quit.
Stating that the WHO remained committed to supporting Member States meet their obligations under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
The development and implementation of programmes to promote quitting tobacco in schools, universities, health facilities, workplaces and sporting environments.
Including services to diagnose tobacco dependence and helping people quit in national health and education programmes, plans and strategies.
She called on governments to improve access to these services and digital solutions to empower people to quit.
“Together, let’s support people with the tools and resources needed to successfully quit and to reduce the demand for tobacco.
This will save live, save money and create healthier societies,” she said.