As the world commemorates the 2019 International Women’s Day, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has urged women and gender rights groups across the country to support the federal government’s current tobacco control efforts and calls for speedy approval of the Regulations for full enforcement of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015.
The theme for this year’s International Women Day is #BalanceforBetter, and serves as call-to-action for governments to celebrate women’s achievement and addressing bias.
ERA/FoEN believes the tobacco menace is the number one militating factor to women reaching their full potentials in life. The groups says it supports tobacco control efforts that will address the growing number of young women getting addicted to tobacco and its debilitating impact on their health and progress in life.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 20% of the world’s more than a billion smokers are women and are more vulnerable to the dangers of tobacco and its ugly effects ranging from female-specific cancers, high mortality rate, compromised pregnancy etc.
In the WHO report “Women and health: today’s evidence, tomorrow’s agenda”, mention is made about the influence of tobacco advertising targeting girls, with some of the most dominant themes depicting glamour, sophistication, style, luxury, romance and sex, among other strategies all aimed at wooing them into smoking.
ERA/FoEN Project Coordinator, Oluchi Joy Robert, said: “As we mark this global event, the outgoing 8th National Assembly owes Nigerian women the gift of approving the Regulations as this will not only save women that are currently addicted to smoking, but also dissuade young girls from getting lured into taking up this dangerous habit.
“To stand up against the deadly attractions of the tobacco industry, women are crucial. Tobacco-free women are healthy women and only healthy women can reach their full potentials.”