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Quick adoption and enforcement of tobacco control regulations in Nigeria.

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Tobacco use is a threat to any person, direct or indirect user alike, regardless of gender, age, race, cultural or educational background. It brings suffering, disease, and death, impoverishing families and national economies. Tobacco consumption hinders development – it increases health-care costs and decreases productivity. It worsens health inequalities and exacerbates poverty, as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care.

The tobacco industry realizes almost $6,000 in profit for each death caused by tobacco. “If trends continue, one billion people will die from tobacco use and exposure during the 21st century –one person every six seconds. Every stick of cigarette is a possible death sentence to our unborn child. Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer. Tobacco is the only legal drug that kills many of its users when used exactly as intended by manufacturers

The Nigeria Global Adult Tobacco survey (GATS) published by the WHO showed that the average monthly expenditure on manufactured cigarettes was N1202.5 Naira. Nigeria has a population of almost 13 million smokers, and 18 billion cigarettes are sold each year, at a value of about $931m (N185 billion). Nigerians spend an average of N7.45 billion on tobacco monthly, and N89.5 billion yearly. 139 million premature deaths can be averted if Africa including Nigeria act now and adopt a stronger regulation with a view to implementing proven methods to reduce tobacco use. It is estimated that the Nigerian government spends as much as US$591 million yearly on health care and low productivity as a result of tobacco consumption in the country.

Every year more than 17,500 Nigerians are killed by tobacco-caused disease, More than 352,000 Nigerians suffer from tobacco-related illnesses annually, while more than 370,000 children and more than 4,303,000 adults continue to use tobacco each day. Complacency in the face of the tobacco epidemic will ensure the tobacco industry continues to run roughshod over the lives of Nigeria's citizens and ensure that tobacco's death toll will grow with each passing year. We all need to stand guard and strengthen efforts in this mortal fight. 207 men are being killed by tobacco every week. 130 women are being killed by tobacco every week. The government need to take concrete steps towards saving the lives of Nigerians and preserving her heritage.

The burden of tobacco is a development issue, and must be addressed to ensure a sustainable future for Nigeria. Lives will be saved and healthcare costs reduced, leading to a sustainable return on investment through a healthier, more able and productive Nigerian population.

Prioritizing the adoption and implementation of tobacco control regulations is very key. The true face of tobacco is disease, death and horror- not the glamour and sophistication the pushers in the tobacco industry try to portray”

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