War Against Smoking Among the Youth,By Gidado Yushau Shuaib

‘’smokers are liable to die young’’

The above is a popular quote, usually labelled on cigarette and tobacco packs to discourage smokers from the habits.

Recently the World- No-Tobacco-Day (WNTD) was held in different parts of the world including Nigeria which again brought to the forefront the need to seriously address long-standing issue of smoking and its health implications among the youths and adults in Nigeria.
It is public knowledge that when one engages in smoking he/she endangers his life span and also damages some vital organs in the body. It’s common to observe that youths engage in smoking activities for various reasons such as encouragement from peer groups through group determinants, emotional relief and sometimes superstitious belief.

The most common method of smoking today is cigarettes and marijuana.

According to the popular online encyclopaedia ‘’Smoking is a practice in which a substance, most commonly tobacco, is burned and the smoke is tasted or inhaled. This is primarily practised as a route of administration for recreational drug use, as combustion releases the active substances in drugs such as nicotine and makes them available for absorption through the lungs.”

Smoking among youths is an issue of great concern that affects individuals, families and the society at large. Unfortunately some foreign cultures condone and tolerate smoking for some reasons including rituals. But most culture and society abhor smoking and smokers for the offensive odours and pollution of the environment.

Smoking which is accountable for the death of millions people yearly, causes heart disease, stroke, weak physical fitness, poor performance and endurance especially in sports. Research has shown that smoking at an early age increases the risk of lung cancer for the youth including teenagers who smoke, doctors have disclosed that they suffer from shortness of breath almost three times as often as teens who don’t smoke, and produce phlegm more than twice as often as teens who don’t smoke. In addition they are more likely to have seen a doctor or other health professionals for an emotional or psychological complaint.

From the foregoing, it could be observed that there is a high risk involved in smoking and there are some preventive measures which could be taken to control the present outburst of smoking in most societies.

The first measure to take in controlling smoking in Nigeria is by campaigns through youth clubs, religious leaders and parental advisory. The campaigns should highlight and show the negative effect of smoking, and also to impact the knowledge of the risk to human. Religious leaders should also partake in such exercises.

The second measure to take is by abolishing or discouraging advertisement and promotional activities on smoking by tobacco companies.

The third measure to take is to put a ban on the smoking of cigarette by the government, while imposing heavy tax on tobacco companies that would lead to an increment in the price of cigarette there by reducing disposable income of its consumers. It could be observed that some state governments have passed into law the ban of smoking in public places. This is a giant step to control the high rate of smokers in our society.

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