The members of the National Youth Service Corps, Medical and Health group, in Ado-Odo Local Government Area of Otta, Ogun State, on Wednesday held a rally tagged ‘Youth Corps Members For A Smoke-free Nigeria’ to raise awareness on the dangers of tobacco use.
The group, who had support from the Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), marched from the Ado-Odo NYSC secretariat in Otta to Iganmode Grammar School sensitising the public as well as the pupils of Iganmode Grammar school of the dangers and health effects of smoking.
Abiodun Joshua, a member of the National Union if Road Transport Workers, said he quit cigarette smoking because it was bad for his health.
“Smoking is not good for me and I used to tell those around me to stop smoking, it affects the heart,” Mr. Joshua told PREMIUM TIMES.
“I’ll advise those that smoke to stop it because it is very dangerous to their health.”
The corps members declined to speak to journalists because NYSC rules does not allow them to, but they addressed the pupils of Iganmode Grammar School on the dangerous effects of smoking tobacco.
Some of their messages include the fact that about 6 million people die from tobacco use every year; for every cigar a person smokes he loses six minutes off his lifespan; a single stick of cigarette contains over 4,000 chemicals including nicotine which is addictive (found in insecticide), formalin (used for embalmment), coal tar (used in road making), sulfuric acid (found in car batteries) and other toxic chemicals which are harmful to the lungs, kidney, and heart.
They also warned the pupils about the dangers of exposure to second-hand smokes from cigarette smokers.
Emmanuel Isaac, the Senior Prefect of Iganmode Grammar School, said, “I haven’t smoked before because I know smokers are liable to die young, most people that smoke are often influenced into it.
“I appreciate the corpers for coming here to enlighten us about smoking and my advice to those that smoke is to stop smoking, it’s harmful to the body.”
Ruth Adeyeye, Vice-Principal, Special Duties, at Iganmode Grammar School thanked the corps members for sensitizing the pupils of the school.
“I am glad the corps members came around to enlighten our pupils because this issue of smoking is really a problem around here, we really appreciate it,” she said.
“My advice to those that smoke is that they should quit smoking because the end result is bad.”
Philip Jakpor, Head of Media and Campaigns, ERA/FoEN, said the corps members’ sensitisation of the dangers of smoking to their peers and the younger generation was a laudable move because they are the targets of the tobacco industry.
“Tobacco industry is targeting replacement smokers, an older generation is dying so they need to replace them and their target is these kids and the corpers themselves,” Mr. Jakpor said.
“So, bringing this message to the school you will not know the impact they have created, they have created a mammoth impact because these kids have been sensitized, they will go back and not smoke.
“Smoking is a menace to the society, tobacco causes death in its millions, according to WHO about seven million die annually from tobacco smoke and this number is set to increase to eight million by 2030 if nothing is done about it.”
Nigeria ramped up its action on the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 during this year’s World No Tobacco Day with the Health Minister, Isaac Adewole, announcing nine new regulations to limit tobacco use.
Mr. Adewole followed up his announcement with written requests to the Attorney-General of the Federation, the Police, as well as the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency seeking their collaboration in the enforcement of the tobacco control law.