By Chioma Obinna
LAGOS â€” Worried about the increasing rate of smoking and its implications for pregnant women, the Lagos State government yesterday said it had concluded plans to begin a statewide campaign on smoking to discourage adolescents and young adults from smoking as well as encourage smokers to quit.
The State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Jide Idris, who disclosed this while briefing journalists on activities to mark this yearâ€™s “World No Tobacco Day,” lamented that tobacco was one of the leading preventable causes of disability and death.
According to Idris, the campaign would focus more on protecting non smokers by designating public areas and facilities as no smoking areas, discourage the uptake and use of tobacco among adolescents and early adults, disseminate the effects of tobacco on pregnancy and the health of mothers and create awareness about tobacco and its effect among the general populace amongst others.
Idris further expressed worry that women are being extensively targeted in tobacco marketing and tobacco adverts, stating that tobacco companies have produced brands specifically for women.
Idris who hinted that tobacco use among women causes variety of cancers said, â€œWomen smokers are at higher risk of developing cervical cancer, osteoporosis and other conditions of the reproductive system including infertility and early menopause. Smoking worsens the symptoms of some conditions such as asthma, chest infections amongst others.â€
Stating that women comprise 20 percent of the Worldâ€™s 1 billion smokers he said â€œSeveral examples of tobacco adverts and promotions targeted to women indicate that such marketing is dominated by themes of both social desirability and independence, which are conveyed through the adverts featuring slim, attractive and athletic models.â€
In pregnancy, smokers are at higher risk of miscarriages, complications of pregnancy including bleeding during pregnancy, detachments of the placenta, premature birth and etopic pregnancy. Low birth weight babies, congenital defects and still births are also common occurrences.â€
Continuing, Idris explained that specific activities would be embedded in the State wide CampaignÂ intervention areas which will see the ministry of health working with others ministries like Education, Justice, Youths and Information.