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11.04.2006 Health

2006 "Quit and Win" campaign launched in Kumasi

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Kumasi, April 11, GNA - Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, Director-General of the Ghana Health Service (GHS), has advised tobacco users, especially cigarette smokers to develop the will power and appropriate skills to quit the habit.

He insisted that there was nothing good in smoking but rather debilitating effects on every organ in the body of the smokers. Prof Akosa stated this at the launch of the 2006 "Quit and Win" campaign against smoking in Kumasi on Tuesday.

The campaign, an initiative of the World Health Organisation (WHO), is an international smoking cessation programme designed to encourage people to stop smoking with the aid of positive incentives. In Ghana, the campaign is being organized in three regions, the Greater Accra, Ashanti and Northern and it is open to people above the age of 18 who had been smoking for more than a year or more. It is a prelude to the celebration of the 2006 World No Tobacco Day, scheduled to take place on May 31 worldwide.

Prof Akosa hinted that over 100 million people the world over were expected to die in the next 25 years from smoking.

He was not happy about the continued tricks of tobacco companies to thwart the efforts of tobacco controls in developing countries. Prof Akosa said tobacco companies continued to take their old and new customers to more insidious levels of deception by promoting and selling new products disguised under healthier names, fruity flavours and more attractive-looking packaging.

He said public awareness of tobacco's harmful effects was essential to lay the foundations for acceptable tobacco control policies and regulations, adding that, the Ghana Health Service was collaborating with the WHO Tobacco Free Initiative to ensure that tobacco remained in the public consciousness.

Prof Akosa said the purpose of World No Tobacco Day, which had as its slogan "Tobacco-deadly in any form or disguise", was to raise awareness about the existence of a great variety of deadly tobacco products to help people get accurate information, remove the disguise and unveil the truth behind tobacco products. Dr Kofi Asare, Ashanti Regional Director of Health Services, appealed to smokers not to send children to buy cigarettes for them. He also appealed to the media to lead the crusade against smoking in society.

Madam Patricia Appiagyei, Kumasi Metropolitan Chief Executive, who chaired the function, called for concerted efforts from all stakeholders to halt smoking and promote the health of the populace.