Feature Article of Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Columnist: Smokefreeghana.com

World No Tobacco Day Is 31st May!

Fellow Ghanaians,

World No Tobacco Day Is 31st May!

All too soon another World no Tobacco Day is Thursday, May 31st 2012. It’s amazing how quickly a year goes by. In the light of tobacco control , Ghana has unprecedentedly made some significant progress this past year. For the first time in its history, the Ghanaian parliament had a hearing on the tobacco bill which is incorporated into the public health bill. Although little has been heard after the preliminary hearing, we at smokefreeghana.com think it is a huge step in the right direction towards tobacco control in Ghana.

Did you know that about 5.5 million people have died worldwide solely because of tobacco use such as smoking and over 80% of the deaths come from developing countries, such as Ghana? Did you also know that secondhand and third-hand tobacco smokes are harmful to those exposed to it, even if you may not smell it? Most smokers are unaware of the damage caused to our environment including our waterways by littering these toxic and non-biodegradable cigarette butts indiscriminately. May smokers be reminded that in the mist of all the zillion mostly unavoidable death risks, the odds of them dying from a completely avoidable lifestyle, tobacco use is a whopping 50%! May our lawmakers also be reminded that a prominent reason why tobacco related deaths occur in developing countries such as Ghana is because of over increasing activities of the tobacco industry that have shifted from the developed world to the developing world due to lack of or inadequate regulations in the developing countries?

We at smokefreeghana.com are convinced that regardless of actions and inactions of the policy and law makers in Ghana, a huge part of the war against tobacco and its associated companies lie on us taxpayers and also our eligible registered voters.

For our eligible voters, please make tobacco control and public health an essential issue in this December elections.

For our smokers whom we love dearly and would like to help you quit, on May 31st, please make an impact on your life and the environment by shunning tobacco use forever. For our relatively healthy and environment-loving nonsmokers, please don’t start smoking and please remind at least one smoker of the damage he or she is causing the environment and most importantly his or her health. For help quitting tobacco use please contact http://www.smokefreeghana.com/contact-us/ or wil.agbenyikey@smokefreeghana.com.

Smokefreeghana.com wishes Ghanaians a smokefree May 31st. We also urge the Ghana government and lawmakers to address this needless threat to public health!

In the Service of Ghana,

Wilfred Agbenyikey, MPH, ScD Candidate & The Smokefreeghana Syndicate.