The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has said that 246 men die weekly from tobacco-related diseases in Nigeria.
The NTCA Board Chairman, Dr. Akinbode Olufemi, said this on Friday in Abuja while presenting a report titled, “Survey to Assess Nigeria’s Progress On SDGS-3 As It Relates to Tobacco Control”.
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Oluwafemi lamented that the morbidity and mortality caused by tobacco use in the country is currently causing huge loss to socio-economic development, which has affected individuals, families, and the country at large.
He said that the report identified gaps in achieving SDGs as it relates to tobacco control and the recommendations to provide stakeholders the much-needed facts for advocacies, campaigns, and programming, as well as guide decision-makers.
According to him, findings of the survey conducted by the NTCA were basically to “Assess Government Commitment and Nigeria’s Progress towards Achieving the Strategic Development Goal (SDGs) with emphasis on Goal 3as it relates to Tobacco Control”.
The NTCA boss represented by the Programme Manager, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), Adie Vanessa Offiong, said that the SDGs being a United Nations (UN) initiative was formally adopted by the UN General Assembly on 25 September 2015 in a resolution entitled ‘Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’.
He said that tobacco use, as is being known is one of the greatest contributors to ill health, deaths, and economic dislocation, which combined, impedes the attainment of general wellbeing.
He said, “The Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS) 2012 revealed that 10.0 percent of men, 1.1 percent of women, and 5.6 percent overall (4.5 million adults) use tobacco products in Nigeria. The Tobacco Atlas puts adult tobacco use at 13.7 percent, accounting for more than seven million adults in 2015.
“Tobacco may be responsible for up to 246 deaths among men weekly in Nigeria. With the morbidity and mortality caused by tobacco use in the country, the loss in economic terms to individuals, families, and the country is better imagined.”
While explaining how the report was conducted, he said, “To arrive at factual conclusions, the NTCA conducted the survey through a structured online questionnaire administered online and in hard copies. The responses were gathered and qualitatively assessed for accuracy. It identifies gaps in achieving SDGs as it relates to Tobacco control and the recommendations provide stakeholders the much-needed facts for advocacies, campaigns, and programming, as well as guide decision-makers.”
He said that not surprisingly, reducing tobacco use stands out among global efforts to achieve the SDG target of reducing premature deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by one third by 2030 and that many of the 17 Goals have a direct or indirect relation to tobacco control.
“The implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) is one of the targets under Sustainable Development Goal 3: to promote healthy lives and wellbeing for all people of all ages.
“This is the fifth year since the initiative commenced and there is a need to look at where Nigeria currently stands in terms of achieving the targets. If we recall, Nigeria faltered in achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which was the precursor of the SDGs.
“To avoid a similar feat, the NTCA and other critical stakeholders felt it was necessary to embark on a survey to enable us to know if we are on track as a nation in achieving the SDGs or not. To do this, deliberately, the NTCA and partners zeroed in on Goal 3: To promote healthy lives and wellbeing for all people of all ages, as an entry point,” he said.
Some of the recommendations include, sustain public enlightenment on the sustainable development goals and the benefits therein; increase and sustain funding as a show of commitment and seriousness; increase the taxes of tobacco to 70 percent of retail prices in line with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control FCTC recommendation; and tax should be earmarked for SDGs goal 3 among others.