Accra, Nov. 21, GNA - Mr Labram Musah, Director of the Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), an NGO, has advised children to desist from smoking of cigarettes because it was a difficult habit to quit.
He said cigarette smoking was the gateway to the use of hard drugs like Indian hemp (wee) and cocaine and when addicted to, leads to health problem, poverty and death.
Mr Musah on Thursday at a community forum to sensitise school pupils at Accra Newtown on the dreadful health effects of tobacco smoking and the law banning tobacco smoking in public, said the law prohibited Children under 18 years from handling or use of tobacco products.
The forum was supported by the Norwegian Cancer Society.
Mr Musah said anybody found flouting the law was liable to a find of 9,000 Ghana cedis and in default three years imprisonment.
The Director said it was difficult to ban cigarette production and that the only means of putting the tobacco industry out of business was to stop the buying of the product.
Miss Patience Ocloo, a member of the Community Health Support Team of VALD in an address mentioned heart diseases, lung, oral, and throat cancers, respiration diseases and infertility as some of the causes of tobacco smoking.
She said cigarette smokers spent about 10 to 15 per cent of their household income on the products which could be channeled into the provisions of food, shelter, clothing, education and other family needs.
Mr Augustus Gaba, an opinion leader of Ayawaso East said if cigarette smoking could not be banned entirely then smoking places should be created as has been done in Europe and other places to protect non-smokers.
Rev. Ernest K. Gaewu, District Pastor of E.P. Church, Accra New Town asked the pupils to shun bad companies, saying; 'prevention is better than cure' and stay alive to grow up to take the place of the elders.