Date Published: 11/19/10
Rescuing Children from the Tobacco Companies
At the just concluded Kuramo Conference 2010, this by all standards was a monumental success, with an attendance of over 3000 delegates from all over the world; one of the more serious advocacy issues that received attention was the effect of tobacco smoke to children and underaged persons in Nigeria.
World over (developing countries) legislation and laws have been put in place and are being judiciously enforced by respective governments to safe guard and protect their citizens, especially the young and highly impressionable ones, while ensuring stringent and effective regulations to curtail the irresponsible activities of the “profit oriented only” tobacco industry. These governments have devised various means, including enforcement of health friendly legislation, higher tax measures etc to compel “Big Tobacco” to adhere to their laws.
Unfortunately, the reverse is the case in developing countries, using Nigeria as our yardstick; the tobacco industry has continued to thrive and profit at the expense of human life, while the government whose sole responsibility is to protect and preserve the lives of its citizenry has adopted a “Sidon look” stance, as is the normal practice. The tobacco companies are feeding fat on the blood of unsuspecting dying smokers and even unfortunate non smokers, whose only misfortune is their association and/or proximity to a smoker. Consideration should be given to the continued debilitating effect that tobacco has on public health and the Nigerian economy, as a whole.
The Lagos State Government, at the Kuramo Conference 2010 pledged to ensure that all advocacy issues deliberated on and/or canvassed at the various sessions would receive due consideration and eventually be a part of a policy change that would impact the system as a whole. It is hoped that the effect of tobacco products, as it affects our young, would not only receive the serious consideration it deserves but also prompt the enforcement of responses and opinions gathered at the conference, a copy of which may be found at the bottom of this document. All readers are kindly requested to register their true and honest opinion hereunder. Please be mindful of the fact that this issue borders on the health and wellness of the Nigerian children, “our future”.
DO YOU KNOW?
- That tobacco smoke is the leading cause of preventable death all over the world?
- That tobacco companies manipulate the nicotine content in cigarettes, to ensure minors become addicted to smoking?
- That tobacco companies specifically target underaged persons to engage them as substitutes to replace already dying smokers?
- That British American Tobacco, the largest tobacco manufacturer made these implicating submissions under oath in the United States district court of Columbia?
- There are adverse health effects from cigarette smoking.
- Cigarette smoking and Nicotine are addictive.
- BATCO manipulates the nicotine content in their brands to ensure that every cigarette of a particular brand or style will deliver the amount of Nicotine (within 0.1 mg.) advertised for that brand.
- There are adverse health effects from exposure to second hand smoke (also known as Environmental Tobacco Smoke or ETS).
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT ENVIRONMENTAL TOBACCO SMOKE (ETS).
- Secondhand smoke contains at least 250 chemicals known to be toxic, including more than 50 that can cause cancer.
- Secondhand smoke causes sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease; more frequent and severe asthma attacks in children. It also slows down lung growth and function in children.
- Breathing secondhand smoke has immediate harmful effects on the cardiovascular system that can increase the risk of a fatal heart condition in children.
- Secondhand smoke is associated with as many as 300,000 cases of bronchitis or pneumonia in children annually.
- Exposure to cigarette smoke causes macular degeneration in children, which eventually leads to irreversible blindness. It also reduces ability to taste and smell in children.
SOME CHEMICALS FOUND IN A STICK OF CIGARETTE, ENUMERATED BELOW
- Tar : used in road construction, the major component that causes health hazards in cigarette.
- Ammonia : substance found in urine, also used as toilet and floor cleaner.
- Carbon Monoxide : poisonous emissions from car exhaust. It reduces oxygen to the blood, forms blood clots in the bloodstream, which clogs arteries and leads to a heart attack.
- Acetone : used in the production of nail polish and paint remover.
- Cadmium : used in manufacturing car battery and plastics.
- Arsenic and Cyanide : rat poison.
EVIDENCE OF WHAT TOBACCO COMPANIES ARE DOING TO CHILDREN
Do you agree that legislation should be passed, compelling Tobacco Companies to device an effective and efficient mechanism that ensures that children and underaged persons do not smoke and are also not exposed to Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS)?We propose that every related cost of enforcing this legislation should be borne by the tobacco companies.