The Association of Public Health Physicians of Nigeria (APHPN), in collaboration with the Nigerian Tobacco Control Research Group, on Saturday, urged the Federal Government to increase tax on tobacco products.
Prof. Tanimola Akande, the National Chairman of the Association, made the call during a news conference organised to mark the “World No Tobacco Day” in Ilorin.
Akande also urged the Senate and the House of Representatives to “quickly do the needful” in harmonising and passing a comprehensive tobacco control bill.
According to him, the bill should slam higher taxes on all tobacco products as cost effective way of reducing demand for them.
“Worldwide, tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year, while many more suffer poor quality of life from tobacco-related sickness.
“It is not only smokers that die from smoking as evidence shows, but for every eight smokers who die from smoking, one non-smoker dies from second-hand smoke,” he said.
The chairman warned that the recent Global Adult Survey (GATS) done in Nigeria revealed that most people were exposed to second-hand smoking in restaurants, government buildings and healthcare facilities.
He added that about 18 million children were exposed to second-hand smoke in their homes, while 27 million were exposed in public places.
He said tobacco use was the single most preventable cause of death globally and as such, government and related agencies should implement a comprehensive tobacco policy that would protect the lives of people.
NAN reports that highlights of the event included visits by the association to some schools to sensitise youths on the harmful effects of smoking.