Nigeria’s Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has disclosed that over 4.5 million Nigerians aged 15 and above are tobacco users, leading to more than 26,800 annual deaths. To address this issue, the FCCPC has launched the “Don’t Burn Their Future” campaign, aimed at protecting the health and future of Nigerian youth.
The campaign emphasises the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, and a prioritised healthcare system in ensuring a healthier future for the youth. Dr. Adamu Ahmed Abdullahi, the Acting Executive Vice Chairman of FCCPC, highlighted the comprehensive nature of the initiative, focusing on curbing young and underage access to tobacco products.
Dr. Abdullahi underscored the serious risks associated with youth tobacco use, including impacts on brain development, respiratory issues, and increased nicotine dependence. He commended the proactive measures taken by the Federal Government of Nigeria, such as the enactment of the National Tobacco Control Act in 2015, showcasing the commitment to creating a smoke-free environment and meeting international obligations under the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC).
The campaign goes beyond warnings and includes a collaborative approach with Civil Society organisations (CSOs) to provide counselling services for those seeking to quit smoking. Toll-free lines have been established to support individuals in their efforts to achieve a smoke-free future.
The Minister of Health, Prof. Muhammed Ali Pate, noted that the FCCPC campaign aligns with the national objective on tobacco control. He highlighted tobacco as a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases and emphasised the significant health and economic toll of tobacco consumption.
Dr. Malau Toma, Chairman of the Tobacco Control Unit at the Federal Ministry of Health, reiterated the need to move away from irresponsible tobacco use, considering its harmful effects on both health and the economy.
The “Don’t Burn Their Future” campaign will include symposiums, lectures, hangouts, and meetings with young people nationwide, reinforcing the message for a tobacco-free future.