Less than 24 hours, the world will be marking World International No Tobacco Day, a Kaduna based Foundation ”The Eye Opener Youth & Women Foundation” has embarked on sensitising Nigerians on the dangers, through house – house campaign and also using social media platform .
This is with a view to raising awareness on all the dangers associated with cigarette smoking to reduce deaths among youth and teenagers in the country .
The President and Founder of the group Mrs. Margaret Julius said , in an interview with journalists that it has become mandatory for the group to educate and enlighten more youth and teenagers on dangers associated with cigarette smoking in view of the large number of millions of people that died annually as a result of diseases associated with cigarette smoking .
She said, World Health Organisation reports 2020 show that Tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year, and more are affected with various cancer problems.
Stressing that Smoking not only causes cancer, she said it can damage nearly every organ in the body, including the lungs, heart, blood vessels, reproductive organs, mouth, skin, eyes, and bones.
According to her, Teenage Cigarette smokers are more likely to get into fights, carry weapons, attempt suicide, suffer from mental health problems such as depression, and engage in high-risk sexual behaviors.
While pointing out that this doesn’t necessarily mean that tobacco use caused these behaviors, but they’re more common in teens who use tobacco this days, she notes.
“The Teenagers and youths of our time used the new method of smoking using decorated Pot Called Shisha which enabled them to mix cigaratte and other traditional leaves to make them feal okey”
Mrs Julius who observed that Cigarette smokers die younger than non-smokers.
emphasised that the Campaign was aimed at discouraging youth and teenagers in communities, especially across the north on harmfull effect of cigarette smoking .
“Smoking tobacco affects human health in many ways which include, Increased risk of gum disease and tooth loss, Wounds taking longer to heal, Decreased immune system function, Increased risk of type 2 diabetes, Decreased sense of smell and taste, Premature aging of the skin, Bad breath and stained teeth, Increased risk for cataracts (clouding of the lenses of the eyes), Higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, Increased risk for age-related macular degeneration, which can cause blindness,
“Smoking damages the airways and small air sacs in smokers lungs. This damage starts early in smokers, and lung function continues to worsen as long as the person smokes. Still, it may take years for the problem to become noticeable enough for lung disease to be diagnosed.
“Cigarette smoking and the use of tobacco products causes serious health problems in children and teens. Over time, smokers then develop the health problems discussed above, and often at younger ages, She said
Margaret discloses that this is the 5th time, her group is organizing a campaign against cigarette smoking to save Nigerian Children and youth on dangers associated with cigarette smoking.
The Campaign, she said, cut across the 19 Northern States of Nigeria ,adding that before the end of june, it would be extended to the Southern part of Nigeria.
Mean while Environmental health experts have called for smoking ban in playgrounds, park, stadiums and other public places
The Director of a Non Governmental Organization, African Climate Reporters, Comrade Nurudden Bello, in an interview says smoking should be banned in all parks , Football view centers, markets, Train stations and playgrounds to reduce the chances of children growing up thinking that using cigarettes is normal,
He says banning it in those locations would also protect children from second hand smoke,
A research conducted by the NGO has shown clearly that teen tobacco users are more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs than non-users.
He then called on parents and guardians to always monitor and advice their childrens on dangers of smoking,
while calling on youth leaders to always educate their groups on its harm to human health
World International No Tobacco Day is celebrated every May 31st , every year.