The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has called for a paradigm shift in the global fight against the increasing prevalence of tobacco consumption, emphasizing the need for new approaches and innovative strategies to address the global challenge.
Obaseki made the call in commemoration of World No Tobacco Day marked by the World Health Organisation and other organs of the United Nations to raise awareness and check the consumption of tobacco.
The governor, who decried the hazardous effects of tobacco on smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke, including cardiovascular diseases, reassured that his government will sustain efforts and policies to improve access to affordable and quality healthcare that encourage consumers of tobacco-seeking therapy to be able to access health professionals to enhance their recovery.
According to him, “This year’s World No Tobacco Day provides stakeholders with yet another opportunity to review efforts and strengthen strategies and collaboration in the global fight against the increasing prevalence of tobacco consumption, considering its harmful effects on smokers and those exposed to second-hand smoke.
“Much as we have made considerable progress in raising awareness on the dangers of tobacco to the health of individuals and the environment, we must now step up efforts in our pursuit of a tobacco-free society, ensuring new strategies and innovative approaches as well as an increased partnership among policymakers and other stakeholders to address this global challenge.”
He added, “One of the crucial steps towards curbing tobacco consumption is to take a bold stance against its cultivation, extending support to more tobacco farmers to embrace the cultivation of food and other nutritional crops. By incentivizing and assisting these farmers, we will not only have distanced millions of people from the harmful effects of tobacco but also contribute to global food security thereby alleviating severe hunger in our communities.”
Reaffirming the government’s commitment to the health and well-being of Edo residents, Obaseki said his government is pursuing a holistic reform in the health sector and building a resilient health system, adding that “the decentralisation of healthcare system in the state has improved access for more residents to check the increase in cardiovascular diseases associated with the consumption of tobacco.”
He further reassured that through effective policies and programmes by the government, health workers, civil society organizations, and relevant Non-Governmental Organisations have been equipped and encouraged to carry out more awareness and sensitization on the dangers of tobacco consumption.
According to the WHO, “Tobacco growing harms our health, the health of farmers and the planet’s health. The tobacco industry interferes with attempts to substitute tobacco growing, contributing to the global food crisis.
“This campaign encourages governments to end tobacco growing subsidies and use the savings to support farmers to switch to more sustainable crops that improve food security and nutrition.”