Today January 20, 2022

Intensified public education needed to control tobacco use – FDA

Kumasi,- The Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) has underscored the need for intensified public education on the use of tobacco and tobacco products by the youth, especially females, in the country.

Dr Mrs Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng, Head of Tobacco and Substances Abuse Department of the FDA, who made the call, said although tobacco use was lawful in Ghana the threat it posed to health was enormous and there should be effective ways to guide its users.

Speaking at a training workshop on the enforcement of tobacco control regulations and enforcement in Kumasi, she said tobacco contained over 7,000 harmful chemicals which were not safe for human consumption either through inhalation, sniffing, chewing, smoking and piping.

“No form of tobacco use is safe,” she said, adding that every part of the smoker’s body was affected and could cause cancers, affect fertility, cause impotence in men and heart diseases, among others.

She said the perception by some youth, especially females, that ‘Shisha’ was safe was not true.

She explained that an hour’s use of ‘Shisha’ was equivalent to 100 combustible sticks of cigarette, adding that it was equally dangerous.

Dr Mrs Boateng said a 2017 survey on the prevalence of tobacco use in Ghana among the youth revealed that 5.4 per cent of young girls and 4.7 per cent of boys smoked ‘Shisha’.

The meeting was aimed at bridging the knowledge gap in tobacco regulation among other law enforcement agencies, stakeholders and traditional authorities.

It was organized by the FDA with support from the World Health Organization (WHO) to ensure a comprehensive implementation strategy, establish a task force for tobacco control at the regional level and develop a coordinating mechanism for tobacco control.

Dr Mrs Boateng, who is also the Coordinator of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Ghana, said the Tobacco Atlas Ghana estimated that over 807,600 people smoke cigarettes and other tobacco products in the country.

The WHO indicates that more than 80 per cent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users globally live in low-and middle-income countries, where the burden of tobacco-related illness and death is heaviest.

Globally, tobacco kills more than eight million people annually.

Dr Mrs Boateng called on stakeholders to assist the FDA in educating the public on the dangers of tobacco use.

Mrs Nora Narkie Terlarbi, Ashanti Regional Head of the FDA, pledged to collaborate with stakeholders in the region to highlight issues of tobacco use control which had increasingly proven to be complex and multi-faceted.

Source: Ghana News Agency



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