Tobacco Kills 3,330 People Each Year in Sierra Leone – says NCD Director

The Director at the Directorate of Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health in the Ministry of Health, Doctor Santigie Sesay while speaking at the World No Tobacco Day Commemoration Day ceremony at the Freetown City Council in Freetown on Friday 31st May has said that tobacco consumption among the public is attributed to 3,330 deaths annually in Sierra Leone, adding that this may not entirely be the cause of death but a risk and motivating factor.

Dr. Sesay reiterated that 900 of these lives lost are due to exposure to second-hand smoke which could have been prevented. He added that, 955,000 adults and 4,000 children aged 10-14 years consume tobacco/tobacco products each year, which makes it worrisome and this requires strong actions from all stakeholders.

While explaining the link between tobacco consumption, risk factors and cancers, Dr. Sesay referenced that 4,125 new cancer cases were recorded between 2016- 2018 in Sierra Leone of which 3,002 died.

Talking of the risk factors of noncommunicable disea
ses, Dr. Sesay attributed tobacco consumption of all forms (smoking, chewing, sniffing, Shisha use) as the predisposing factor for heart attack, sudden cardiac death, respiratory infections compared to non-smokers and blood pressure.

Educating on the effects of tobacco consumption especially for pregnant women, Dr. Sesay said that tobacco toxins can cause serious damage to blood vessels, narrowing and reduced the flow of blood to vital parts of the heart, causing bleeding during pregnancy, ectopic pregnancy, miscarriage, stillbirth, cervical cancer, early menopause, increased menstrual disorders, impaired and erectile dysfunction in men.

Dr. Sesay warned against second hand smoking stating that it is more dangerous than the smokers as it poses more and severe health risk non-smokers (silent consumers).

He concluded by calling for a robust action by all stakeholders to implement the Nicotine and Tobacco Bill as people are dying from tobacco smoke without even buying or smoking a stick of cigarette.

He cont
inued that there are a lot of benefits if the Tobacco Control Policies including Taxation, Smoke-Free Policies, Advertising Restrictions Public Health Campaigns that are also key components in both the Nicotine and Tobacco Bill and the WHO Framework Coordination on Tobacco Control (FCTC) are fully and effective implemented 19,000 deaths could be averted over 15 years, 1.3 trillion economic loses could be avoided over 15 years.

The regional Director of WHO, Dr. Matshidiso Moeti in his statement during the World No Tobacco Day Commemoration applauded the progress made in the tobacco fight against tobacco use in Sierra Leone, especially with the enactment of the Nicotine and Tobacco Bill by the Parliament of Sierra Leone and emphasized WHO’s position, encouraging countries to accelerated implementation of the WHO FCTC with stringent measures on marketing new and emerging new tobacco and narcotic products, , particularly designed to appeal to the youths, including shisha, e-cigarette, narcotic pouches, and other
s that are aggressively promoted through social media.

Source: Sierra Leone News Agency