Clinical Psychologist Calls for Policies to Reduce Tobacco Consumption

Eight million Tobacco Smokers Die Annually

A University of Ilorin Professor of Anatomy, Gabriel Omotoso, has identified tobacco smoking as a leading cause of preventable deaths and diseases worldwide. Omotoso revealed this at the weekend while delivering the 259th inaugural lecture of the university.

Omotoso said tobacco smoking caused more than eight million deaths yearly.

He said the latest global estimate of tobacco users was 1.25 billion people, 80 per cent of which were in low and middle-income countries.

The inaugural lecture was titled, “White Matter Matters in the Search for Phytochemical Candidates for Demyelinating Disorders.”

The don stated that out of the eight million yearly deaths from tobacco usage, “1.3 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke.”

Omotoso lectures in the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin.

He lamented that “despite a great deal of health education and awareness on the grave implications of cigarette smoking, many people are still caught in the web of the habit.” He stated that in Nigeria, 10 per cent of the population smoked tobacco daily.

The don identified some adverse consequences of cigarette smoke on different organs of the body to include its adverse effects on male gonads and reproduction/fertility, adding that passive cigarette smoke also detrimentally affects adult brains.

To curb the menace of cigarette smoke, Omotoso stressed “the need for all of us to arise and protect our children from tobacco industry interference”.

The inaugural lecturer also called on the government to enforce tobacco production laws in the country. He stressed the need for the government to “take a cue from other countries, such as New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia to effect this”.

He said there was an urgent need for public enlightenment to educate the society on the harmful effect of cigarette smoking.

Omotoso underscored the need to improve access to diagnostic tools to mitigate the challenge of disease diagnosis in the country.

He pointed out that “tobacco smoking, whether actively or passively, is deadly”, saying it should be avoided like plague.

Omotoso specifically advised pregnant women or women planning to have pregnancy to avoid tobacco exposure.