Minister of Health says Nigeria loses over 800 million dollars while tobacco industry thrives

Abuja, 4 June, 2018 - To mark 2018 World “No Tobacco Day in Abuja, the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole says Nigeria loses an estimated 800 million dollars annually due to stroke, heart disease and diabetes as the tobacco industry thrive.

Citing a report (Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 2012) during a Ministerial Press briefing on 04 June 2018, Professor Adewole lamented, “The tobacco industry is making huge profits unchecked without taking responsibility for the harm that tobacco does to public health. Evidence has shown that for every $1 gain from tobacco business about $3 is expended on healthcare cost as a result of tobacco’s ill effects”. 

Every year on 31 May, the world commemorate World No Tobacco Day (WNTD), to highlight the dangers associated with tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. Nigeria’s commemoratory event was held in line with this year’s WNTD theme of: ‘Tobacco and heart disease’; to draw attention on tobacco use as a key risk factor for developing heart and related diseases, including stroke.

In his speech, the WHO Country Representative (WR)  to Nigeria Dr Wondimagegnehu Alemu, congratulated Nigeria for the upward review of excise duty rates for tobacco and alcoholic beverages taking effect today (04 June, 2018) which aims to raise government’s fiscal revenues and reduce the health hazards associated with tobacco-related-diseases.    

He further appreciated the approval by the Federal Executive Council to ratify the protocol on eliminate illicit trade of tobacco and stressed that the tobacco control measures being promulgated by the Government will fast-track attainment of goal 3.4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) towards achieving one-third global reduction in premature deaths from non-communicable diseases.

“We look forward to the Government’s speedy passage of the regulation to enforce the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and to the enforcement of some provisions of the Act announced by the Minister of Health at WorldNo Tobacco Day 2017”, said Dr Rex Mpazanje who read the WR’s remarks at the event.

He assured that WHO is committed to continue supporting the country to achieve full implementation of the WHO Framework for Tobacco Control. 
More than 20 media personnel, representatives from Civil Society Organizations, Consumer protection Agency, Standard Organization of Nigeria, Police Force and  Nigeria Customs service witnessed the public awareness creation event.

Highlighs of of the 2018 commemoration of the 2018 included launch of workplan developed by the Federal Ministry of Health with support from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and presentation of WNTD award to Mrs Charity Ainobe-Asekharen of Nigeria for her outstanding  contribution towards eliminating tobacco use in the Africa region.


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