In a resolute effort to safeguard the health and future of Nigeria’s youth, the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), today inaugurated the “Don’t Burn Their Future” campaign. This comprehensive initiative addresses the alarming rise in young and underage access to tobacco products and aims to curb the detrimental impact on society.
Dr. Adamu Ahmed Abdullahi, Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the FCCPC who gave the keynote remark at the launch in Lagos emphasized the dynamic nature of sound health, which encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being. The campaign underscores the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, and a prioritised healthcare system in fostering a healthier future for the youth.
In his address, Dr Abdullahi highlighted the grave risks associated with youth tobacco use, ranging from impacts on brain development to respiratory issues and increased nicotine dependence. He revealed that 4.5 million Nigerians aged 15 and above are tobacco users, with more than 26,800 annual deaths attributed to tobacco-related diseases.
Dr. Abdullahi commended the proactive measures taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria, including the enactment of the National Tobacco Control Act in 2015. He emphasized the government’s commitment to creating a smoke-free environment and fulfilling international obligations under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
The campaign’s scope extends beyond warnings, featuring a collaborative approach with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to provide counselling services for those aiming to quit smoking. Toll-free lines have been established to bridge the gap to a smoke-free future, emphasizing support and follow-up.
Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, Minister of Health, noted that campaign by the FCCPC is in alignment with the national objective on tobacco control.
He explained that among other issues, tobacco is a major risk factor for non communicable diseases like hypertension, stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases.
He revealed that more than eight million deaths every year worldwide, with over seven million of these deaths occurring as a result of direct tobacco use while about 1.2 million from non-smokers exposure to second-hand smoke.
Dr Malau Toma, Chairman Tobacco Control Unit, Federal Ministry of Health, who represented the Minister highlighted the significant health and economic toll of tobacco consumption, reinforcing the need for a departure from irresponsible tobacco use.
The campaign received accolades from Dr. Bridget Okoeguale, Chairman, National Tobacco Control Committee (NATOCC), a multisectoral tobacco control committee established by law.
She praised the initiative for enhancing awareness of the need to protect the young from the harmful effects of tobacco.
In closing, Mr Babatunde Irukera, immediate past EVC of the FCCPC, stressed the duty to protect people from the harmful effects of tobacco, highlighting that it is not just an event but a cause.
The “Don’t Burn Their Future” campaign sets the stage for a series of symposiums, lectures, hangouts, and meetings with young people nationwide, reinforcing the message for a tobacco-free future. The FCCPC calls on all stakeholders, including tobacco manufacturers, to join hands in this crucial endeavour.