June 11, 2024

FCTA urges FG to criminalise sending children to buy tobacco


The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) has called on the Federal Government to initiate a law that will prosecute  parents who send children on errands to buy tobacco related products.

Dr Doris John, Director, Public Health Department, FCTA, made the call on Tuesday in Abuja at a news conference to commemorate the 2024 World No Tobacco Day.

World No Tobacco Day is celebrated annually on May 31.

Recall that the news conference was held after a road walk by officials of the department and students of Government Science Technical College (GSTC), Area 3, Garki, Abuja.

The director said that the department decided to carry the students along in the road walk in tandem with the theme of the 2024 World No Tobacco Day “Protecting Children from Tobacco Industry Interference.”

She warned parents who smoked before their children to stop.

John condemned the attitude of sending children to buy tobacco related products and called for strict prosecution of such categories of parents.

She also advocated that schools in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) should form “No Tobacco Club”, adding that it would help to reduce the menace of tobacco intake in the country.

“Today marks a pivotal moment in our collective journey towards the control of tobacco use in our society especially among adolescents and youths both in and out of school.

“There are 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide and tobacco use in whatever form or level is harmful and kills more than half of the users if taken as intended by the tobacco manufacturers.

“Tobacco kills around 8 million people every year (more than 7 million active smokers and over 1 million non-smokers exposed to second hand smoke); the life expectancy of smokers is at least ten years less than that of non-smokers.

“The tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced; killing over 8 million people a year around the world.

“More than 7 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 1.3 million are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.

“In Nigeria, more than 25, 000 children between 10 and 14 years are daily tobacco users, while the age of tobacco use initiation is between 13 and 15 years; secondary school and university studies show ‘shisha’ smoking rates between 3 to 7 per cent,” she said.

The director regretted that the tobacco industry was actively focusing on children and youth to cultivate a new generation of customers, adding that studies had revealed that most smokers started before age of 18.

In his remark, Dr Kumshida Balami, the FCT Coordinator for World Health Organisation (WHO), urged the children to join the movement to help in driving the campaign against tobacco intake; to get a world that was free of tobacco.

Balami urged the students to shun tobacco even whenever they were approached with it.

He added that such product could shorten their lives as a healthy life style was always the best.