Tobacco Kills 6m
A SURVEY conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO) indicates that tobacco kills about six million people each year. Of the number more than 600,000 people are exposed to second hand smoke.
The survey also revealed that tobacco will kill up to eight million people by 2030, with more than 80% in low and middle income countries like Ghana.
Minister of Health, Alban Bagbin made these known in a press release Thursday to mark this year's World Tobacco Day at Winneba in the Central region.
The celebration themed 'Tobacco Industry Interference' focuses on the need to expose and counter the tobacco industry's increasingly aggressive attempts to undermine the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) which seeks to protect the health of the public from the dangers of tobacco.
Mr. Bagbin expressed concern about the way 14.3% of junior high school students in the country have tried smoking cigarettes, while 19.5% are currently using tobacco products and 4.9% actually smoke.
'This is serious for a country at its early stage of the tobacco epidemic and for that matter the ministry in collaboration with other ministries and development partners has the obligation to protect public health from tobacco industry interference,' he stated.
He underscored the need for stakeholders, policy makers, ministries and other development partners to be alert to any effort by the tobacco industry to undermine or subvert tobacco control efforts and the need to be informed of activities of the tobacco industry that have a negative impact on society.
'Ghana a party to WHO FCTC has agreed on ways to stop the tobacco industry interference and is guided on Article 5.3 by four principals,' he added.
The minister bemoaned the situation where the tobacco industry stimulated citizens, groups and smokers among others to give an impression of their social support without looking at the harm being caused.
'The scientific evidence about the harm caused by tobacco and second hand smoking is so strong and extensive that the industry needs to discredit it in order to get around or weaken tobacco control legislation,' he stressed
From Sarah Owusu-Darlington, Winneba