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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Tobacco epidemic may kill 6 million people –WHO

The World Health Organisation has estimated that about six million people will die this year from tobacco smoking including 600,000 non-smokers who will die from exposure to tobacco smoke.

In a news statement issued by the global body on Monday as part of activities to mark the World NO Tobacco Day on Tuesday, the organisation also warned that the tobacco epidemic could kill eight million and half of all tobacco users would eventually die of tobacco related disease.

The WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, noted that although the organisation had recorded some success with its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control , one of the challenges remained for the public health treaty to reach its full potential as the world’s most powerful tobacco control tool.

Chan said, “More needs to be done for the treaty to achieve its full potential. It is not enough to become a party to the treaty. Countries must also pass, or strengthen the necessary implementing legislation and then rigorously enforce it. The treaty’s ultimate success against the tobacco industry depends on the extent to which the parties meet all of their obligations,”

Meanwhile, a non-governmental organisation, Environmental Rights Action of Nigeria, has ccommended the House of Representatives for adopting the National Tobacco Control Bill on Tuesday.

According to the Director of ERA, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Senate had passed the Bill since March 15 and the concurrent passage from the lawmakers would ensure that it became a law when the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, accents to the Bill.

Oluwafemi, who spoke in Lagos On Tuesday in celebration of the World No Tobacco Day programme with the theme, “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control,” said the final passage of the Bill would would help fight tobacco addiction.

“The Bill is a veritable tool that will help Nigeria to fight a deadly addiction, thereby protecting many lives and saving costs in Medicare.”