31.05.2005 Regional News

National "World no Tobacco Day" launched in Tamale

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Tamale, May 31, GNA - Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director General of the Ghana Health Service has appealed to health professionals to give maximum support to campaign for no smoking campaign in public places. They should also educate their clients against tobacco consumption and how to quit smoking, he said, adding: "Tobacco contains more than 4,000 highly toxic chemicals of which 250 are known to be carcinogenic."

He said: "You need to do this because tobacco is now the second major cause of death in the world and it is currently responsible for the death of one in 10 adults worldwide and about five million deaths each year."

Prof. Akosa made the appeal at the launch of the national "World No Tobacco Day" in Tamale on Tuesday.

He mentioned carbon monoxide, arsenic, ammonia, acetic acid, acetone and phenol, which are very dangerous to human life as some of the toxic materials released from a lighted cigarette.

He said about 10 million people would die of tobacco related diseases each year by 2025 and half of the 650 million people who smoke would be killed if the current smoking pattern continued.

Prof. Akosa noted the devastating economic costs of tobacco use and said tobacco had a high public health cost as well and was the fourth most common risk factor for diseases worldwide.

He said tobacco had the tendency of killing people at the height of their productive stage, thereby depriving families of breadwinners and nations of a healthy workforce.

"Tobacco users are also less productive while they are alive due to increased sickness," he said, adding: "Tobacco and poverty are inextricably linked since poorest households spend 10 per cent of their incomes on the commodity."

Prof. Akosa therefore, urged health professionals especially doctors, to be role models by contributing to tobacco control and counselling patients to quit smoke.

He also called on them to provide smoking cessation treatment and speak out publicly against smoking, as well as lobby for comprehensive public policies to control tobacco use.

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