Nigeria spends over N500bn on tobacco-related illnesses annually — Stakeholders

Posted by News Express | 13 February 2021 | 289 times

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The Centre for the Study of Economies of Africa (CSEA) and Amaka Chiwuike Uba Foundation (ACUF) on Thursday said that Nigeria health system spends N526.4billion on treatment of tobacco-related illness annually.

This was made known during a one-day stakeholders’ report dissemination workshop with the theme “Health Burden and Economic Cost of Smoking in Nigeria”, in Enugu.

Presenting the research paper, the Executive Director of CSEA, Dr Chukwuka Onyekwena, noted that tobacco companies contribute less than N100 billion to Nigeria Gross Deposit Point (GDP) yearly.

According to him, N526.4 billion is been spent annually to tackle tobacco-related diseases (by government and individual Nigerians).

He regretted the alarming death caused by tobacco in Nigeria with estimate of 28,876 deaths annually.

The executive director suggested in his presentation that increased taxation on tobacco companies would be the best measure to reduce the smoking consumption and increase the revenue generation of the country.

He charged the stakeholders to advocate on the reduction of consumption of tobacco by taking the campaign to schools and grassroots to catch the young, adding: “It will be difficult to convince an addicted person from smoking.”

Onyekwena said: “Tobacco smoking is a health challenge issues that incurred huge cost. It is the duty of CSEA to respond to such issues and provide evidence that can be lead to policy discussion and change.

“Through the vigorous and comprehensive report, we were able to expose the cost of neglected incidence of tobacco smoking by spending over N526.4 billion yearly in a period Nigeria is battling on how to reduce cost of wastages and reduce expenditures in irrelevant areas.

“Nigeria is spending much than the resources it gets from tobacco due to tobacco related health aspects.

“Increase taxation on tobacco companies is the most effective ways to reduce the incidence of smoking and tobacco consumption as well as increase public revenue.

“This is a presentation of evidence that we form advocacy and discussion around intervention to change this increasing trend of people consuming much tobacco that is growing rapidly in Nigeria.

“There is need to move towards measure to really revise the trend and save the lives of Nigerians and increase our economy.”

He challenged the stakeholders to be more focused on advocacy campaign on reducing consumption of smoking by taking sensitisation to schools, communities and enlightening them on dangers involved in smoking.

“It will be more difficult for an addicted person to stop smoking; but we can ensure no child within our neighbourhoods form the habit of smoking,” he said.

Also speaking, Lead Researcher and Executive Director of ACUF, Dr Chiwuike Uba, said that they would take the campaign against consumption of tobacco to a larger populace.

Uba promised that the body would take the report of their research to lawmakers to allow them make policies, enact laws and enforce it.

According to him, most people do the wrong things they do because they do not have the right knowledge.

He said: “What this research and dissemination workshop will do is that we should take it to a larger populace who are indulging in all sort of tobacco consumption and tell them the dangers inherent in their actions.

“We have seen more than ten diseases that are associated with tobacco smoking to help them withdraw from smoking.

“We will sensitise the youths which is our major target through small video clips on social media, radio programmes and also engage the policy makers to make policies, enact laws and enforce it to make sure the right thing is done.”

Source: News Express

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