The World Health Organisation (WHO) has revealed that no fewer than 146,000 Africans die annually from tobacco-related diseases.
Dr Matshidiso Moeti, the WHO Regional Director for Africa, said this on Thursday, June 17, 2021 during a virtual news conference.
Moeti said tobacco was the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world and emphasised that “smoking damages nearly every organ in the body.”
The director also said that “globally, exposure to secondhand smoke kills more than 1.2 million people yearly.”
She explained that the use of tobacco products other than cigarettes, such as vaporisers, was on the increase in Africa.
Moeti said that quitting tobacco was the way to reduce the risk of developing cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases, noting that it would also increase one’s life expectancy.
She added that “quitting tobacco is hard but today is a good day to start.
“Make the decision to live a life controlled by you and not tobacco.
“It may seem impossible, or like smoking isn’t a big deal. But what you don’t do today may end up causing future health problems or premature death,” Moeti said.
She added that one in five adolescents in Africa now used tobacco, saying “this must change. Quit smoking and be a part of the solution.”
By Franca Ofili