By Chioma Obinna
As studies show that smoking habits has risen among Nigerian youths, the Nigerian Heart Foundation, NHF, has called on the three tiers of government to enforce all laws against tobacco use and manufacturing in Nigeria.
To this end, On this year’s World No Tobacco Day, NHF, in collaboration with the United Nations Association of Nigeria, UNAN is organising an essay competition amongst secondary school students on the ‘Hazards of Tobacco to the Heart: Role of Stakeholders in Nigeria.’
Addressing a joint press conference in Lagos, they expressed fears that despite enactment of these laws by a number of states and at the Federal level, Nigerians are yet to see the implementation.
Speaking, the Chairman, Executive Council, NHF, Dr. Olufemi Mobolaji-Lawal said the essay competition became necessary to create awareness among these young Nigerians as studies have shown a sharp increase of tobacco use among Nigerian youths.
He explained that prizes ranging from laptops, tablets, mobile phones and smart watches will be awarded to winners of the essay at an event which would hold to mark the day in Lagos. The links to the essay competition are on the NHF website.
Mobolaji – Lawal who narrated how tobacco use affects the heart said report from the WHO shows that tobacco use kills more than 7 million people around the world each year and the number is predicted to grow unless anti tobacco actions are increased.
In his views, the Executive Director, NHF, Dr Kingsley Akinroye said that tobacco is bad for every organ as it affects blood vessels making them thick and inelastic causing restriction to flow of blood.
He said latest global study showed that 18 percent of Nigerian youths are smokers. He feared that Nigeria may be witnessing more deaths in the next 20 years as effects of smoking starts 20 years after.
He said there is need for government to protect Nigerians by enforcing the tobacco laws.
On his part, the Secretary, UNAN, Engr, Ganiyu Owolabi decried recent award by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, to the British Tobacco company recently, saying such companies should not be encouraged but discourage young Nigerians from taking to smoking.