Tobacco Claims 8m Lives Yearly, Says Varsity Don

Tobacco Claims 8m Lives Yearly, Says Varsity Don

A professor of Anatomy at the University of Ilorin (UNILORIN), Kwara State, Gabriel Olaiya Omotoso, has said tobacco smoking causes more than eight million deaths yearly across the globe.

He also identified tobacco smoking as a leading cause of preventable death and disease worldwide.

Omotoso, who made the declaration while delivering the 259th inaugural lecture of the university, said that the latest global estimate of tobacco users is 1.25 billion people, 80 percent of whom are in low-and middle-income countries.

In the inaugural lecture, titled, “White Matter Matters in the Search for Phytochemical Candidates for Demyelinating Disorders”, the don posited that out of the eight million yearly deaths from tobacco usage, “1.3 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke”.

Omotoso lamented that “despite a great deal of health education and awareness on the grave implications of cigarette smoking, many people are still caught in the web of the habit, pointing out that in Nigeria, for instance, 10 percent of the population smoke tobacco daily”.

He identified some adverse consequences of cigarette smoking on different organs of the body to include its adverse effects on male gonads and reproduction/fertility, adding that passive cigarette smoke also detrimentally affects adult brains.

To curb the menace of cigarette smoke, Omotoso stressed: “the need for all of us to arise and protect our children from tobacco industry interference.”

He also called on the government to enforce tobacco production laws in the country, stressing the need for the government to “take a cue from other countries, such as New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia to effect this.”

Noting the urgent need for public enlightenment to educate society about the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, Omotoso underscored the need to improve access to diagnostic tools to mitigate the challenge of disease diagnosis in the country.

Pointing out that “tobacco smoking, whether actively or passively, is deadly,” the don said it should be avoided like the plague.

He specifically advised pregnant women or women planning to be pregnant to avoid tobacco exposure.


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