France is celebrating a reduction in the number of daily smokers but Nigeria has growing cases of underage smokers and smoking patterns among adults that is reaching epidemic levels.
Some 600 000 daily smokers have stopped smoking tobacco during the first quarter of 2018, according the estimates from the French government made known on Monday. About 1.6 million daily smokers have quit smoking since 2016.
Public authorities have attributed this significant reduction to different measures taken to fight against tobacco. One measure was a progressive increase in the price per packet of cigarette to 10 Euros between now and 2020, reimbursement for nicotine substitutes and the “Tobacco free month” in November of 2018 to prompt the maximum number of smokers to quit.
In Nigeria, more than 25, 000 children (10-14 years old) and 3,527,000 adults (15+ years old) continue to use tobacco each day. In 2017, a World Health Organisation report said that tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year, around the world, while more than 6 million of those deaths results from direct tobacco use.
According Isaac Adewole, Nigeria’s minister of health, an adult tobacco survey showed that over 20 billion sticks of cigarettes are consumed in the country by 4.5 million adults.
“This is 5.6 per cent of our population annually. The survey shows that 4.1 million men and 500,000 women smoke in Nigeria, while 6.4 million adults are exposed to smokers. We have to fight this looming epidemic now” Adewole said.
Low and middle-income countries such as Nigeria account for 80 percent tobacco-related morbidity and mortality. This is an increased strain on an already weak and fragile health system, particularly so for Africa’s most populous nation.