Youth Action on Tobacco Control and Health (YATCH), an NGO, has urged the Federal Government to enforce the tobacco control law to reduce the prevalence of tobacco smoking and its health risks.
Its Executive Director, Mr Seye Omiyefa, made the appeal in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Lagos in commemoration of the World No Tobacco Day, marked annually on May 31.
Omiyefa said that the enforcement of the law would help to push forward the goal of the organisation to sensitise millions of youths in the country.
“Passage of the draft tobacco control regulations in Nigeria on May 21 is a bold step by the National Assembly and it is commendable. However, this has been delayed for four years.
“YATCH urges the government to expedite the process of gazetting the regulations and commencement of enforcement by the relevant agencies of government.
“The law will create an easy environment for us to disseminate our intervention plans,” he said.
The officer said that the organisation had sensitised over 350,000 students on the effects of tobacco smoking.
He said also that it plan to sensitise two million students by the end of 2020 with substance abuse prevention intervention plans.
“YATCH has visited over 125 secondary schools sensitising them on the effects of tobacco smoking.
“We are currently carrying out a substance abuse prevention intervention in five secondary schools in Ibadan.
“This is expected to increase to 50 schools by the end of 2019.
“The platform of the Youth Action Against tobacco club created by YATCH will be employed to disseminate and create a team of experts including stakeholders in the schools.
“This will ensure that the stakeholders properly carry out and support YATCH’s initiative of Substance Abuse Prevention in secondary schools,’’ he said.
Omiyefa said that tobacco had negative impact on people’s health such as lung cancer and chronic respiratory among others.
He said: “Research has shown that smoking cigarettes or any form of tobacco affects lung health because a person breathes in, not only nicotine but also a variety of additional chemicals.
“These chemicals are responsible for a substantial increase in the risk of developing lung cancer.
This risk is 25 times greater for men and 25.7 times greater for women.“