By: Mayen Etim
KADUNA, North-West, Nigeria – As Nigeria joined the rest of the world to mark No Tobacco Day today, May 31, 2020, a group, The Eye Opener Youth and Women Foundation, (TEO), embarked on house-house amidst the Covid-19 lockdown sensitising Nigerians on dangers associated with cigarette smoking.
President and Founder of TEO, Mrs. Margaret Julius, said in an interview with Journalists in Kaduna that it has become mandatory for the foundation to educate and enlighten youth and teenagers on dangers associated with cigarette smoking to reduce deaths among them in the country.
She said, the 2020 World Health Organisation reports shows that tobacco kills more than 8 million people each year, and more are affected with various cancer problems.
She stressed that smoking not only causes cancer, but could damage nearly every organs in the body.
According to her, teenage cigarette smokers are more likely to get into fights, carry weapons, attempted suicide, suffer from mental health problems such as depression, and engage in high risk sexual behaviors.
Mrs Julius noted that this doesn’t necessarily mean that tobacco use caused these behaviors, but they’re more common in teens who use tobacco nowadays.
“Teenagers and youth of nowadays use the new method of smoking using decorated pot called Shisha which enabled them to mix cigaratte and other traditional leaves to make them feel high.
“Smoking tobacco affects human health in many ways which include; gum disease and glory loss, wounds taking longer to heal, decreased immune system, increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, decreased sense f smell and taste.
“Others are; premature aging, bad breath and stained teeth, increased risk of cataracts, higher risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis, and age-related macular degeneration which can cause blindness.
“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,” she added.
The President of TEO disclosed that the campaign is cut across the 19 Northern States of Nigeria, adding that before the end of June, it would be extended to the Southern part of the country.
Meanwhile, the Director of African Climate Reporters, Nurudeen Bello, called for a ban on smoking in public places like parks, play grounds, stadium, markets, train stations, among others.
He said that teen tobacco users are more likely to use alcohol and illegal drugs than non-users; and called on parents and guardians to always monitor and cautioned their children on dangers of smoking.