The Northern Region is said to be leading in smoking and tobacco use in the country, with 17.7 percent of men there engaged in the practice.
The Upper West Region ranks second in the number of people who smoke in the country, with 15.3 percent of its men involved in smoking, while the Upper East Region is third, with 11.4 percent of the men there engaged in the practice.
The Northern Regional Health Promoter, Alhaji Abdul-Rahman Yakubu, made these known at a media briefing on Thursday during this year's World No Tobacco Day celebration in the region in Tamale.
It was on the theme, "Smoke-free environment", and was aimed, among others, at educating the public on the dangers of using tobacco.
Alhaji Yakubu indicated that figures on tobacco use conducted by researchers, including the 2003 Ghana Demographic and Health Survey Report conducted by the Ghana Statistical Service, had made startling revelations about the north in that respect.
The health promoter, however, stated that the survey could not capture the prevailing situation among women but said the situation was still critical, since men were supposed to be the heads of their families and "bread winners".
He further stated that the Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2000 and 2005 had also revealed that the youth in the north were not safe, as a significant number of them at the junior secondary school (JSS) level were found to be engaged in smoking.
Alhaji Yakubu stressed the need for Parliament to expedite action on the passage of the Tobacco Bill, saying that "the national committee has presented a draft bill to Parliament for endorsement for sometime now".
"Experience from some countries such as Italy, Uganda and Kenya has shown that comprehensive legislation is essential to ensure that all members of the community enjoy smoke-free public places and work places," he said.
Alhaji Yakubu noted that the level of awareness of the dangers of tobacco use and second-hand smoking was still low in the region.
"Health organisations, media practitioners, politicians, teachers and human rights activists must be responsible in our resolve to promote a smoke-free environment," he pointed out.
The National Programme Manager of the Guinea Worm Control Programme, Dr Seidu Korkor, called on the media to actively get involved in the educational campaign to help reduce the use of tobacco and smoking.
Source: Daily Graphic