Ghana is making economic loses of over Gh¢ 97million to tobacco smoking.
This is through direct cost related to health care expenditure and indirect cost associated with loss of productivity due to premature mortality and morbidity.
Concurrently, directly hinders development and harms the environment thereby increasing public health threat.
The Deputy Ranking Member of Parliament Select Committee on Health, Dr Robert Baba Kuganab-Lem, made this assertion in an interview with Modernghana on the World No Tobacco Day in Accra on My 31, 2019.
The World Tobacco Day, is celebrated on the 31st May every year, to advocate against the consumption of Tobacco and it's related illicit trades. This year 's celebration of the World No Tobacco Day was on the theme, “Tobacco and the Lungs Health."
Commenting on the 'No Tobacco Day, ' Mr Kuganab who is a Member of Parliament (MP) for Binduri constituency said, tobacco use is reported to have claimed over 7.2 million lives every year of which majority come from South Sahara Africa region.
According to him, about 6 million of lives lose are as the result of direct use whilst about 89,000 are due to exposure to second hand smoke by non-smokers, stressing that, "this far outweighs deaths from HIV/AIDS, TB and Malaria combined and is projected to increase to 10million by 2030 if the phenomenon is left unchecked."
The Binduri lawmaker who spoke passionate about the tobacco menace said, World Health Organisation (WHO) reports on tobacco uses had revealed tobacco smoking remained one of the major public health threat confronting the global fight against cause of premature and preventable deaths.
"Available reports pointed that, 1.1 billion people smoke globally. South Sahara Africa is in the stage one of the tobacco epidemic continuum, a stage characterized by high smoking prevalence among men and women and is home for about 80% of the world’s smoker’s population," he added.
Dr Kuganab who is medical professor, said the greatest burden of tobacco illnesses includes heart diseases, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which combines emphysema and chronic bronchitis and death.
The lawmaker pointed that, the phenomenon could be largely attributes to the growing international illicit trade on tobacco products which makes tobacco products easily accessible and affordable, nothing that, "the Illicit trade continues undermine tobacco control policies and further endangers the already existing global tobacco epidemic."
He said in Ghana for instance, tobacco smoking is widespread as a result of population growth and urbanization with about 779200 men reported smoking cigarette as against 15700 women, making it a dire public health threat.
Nevertheless the Dr Kuganab said, the situation could be tackled if government could strengthen the implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) as contained in the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) goal #3 to ensure healthy lives in the country.
He further called on government to quicken the process to ratify the protocol on the elimination of illicit trade on tobacco products to reduce the about 90% lung cancer risk and effects associated with smoking.
The WHO tobacco control intervention framework which has been ratified in Ghana for prevention includes tax increases, smoke free public spaces, ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship and health information and warnings.