Tobacco use high among Ghanaian youth – Study

A study by Tobacco Atlas Ghana, shows that about 425,200 men, 69,200 women and 2,700 boys smoked cigarettes each day, while about 75 men die weekly by smoking tobacco.

It said although the tobacco smoking rates declined from 27 per cent in 2000 to 20 per cent in 2016, youth from the ages of 13 to 15 years were exposed to tobacco, a situation that made tobacco a public health threat.

Mrs Mimi Darko, the Chief Executive Officer of the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) said this at the launch of this year’s World No Tobacco Day celebration in Accra on Monday.

She said the Ghana Youth Tobacco Survey (GYTS) has however indicated that 39.3 per cent of public in public and private Junior High Schools were exposed to tobacco smoke and 71.3 per cent JHS pupils below the ages of 18 had access to tobacco.

“The survey further depicted that prevalence in shisha use was higher in girls than in boys, due to the misconception that shisha was a safer alternative,” she said`.

Mr Kwaku Agyemang Manu, the Minister for Health, in a speech read on his behalf said the nation and families incurred huge economic burdens by losing both human and financial resources that could have been channeled into investment.

He called on individuals, governments and organisations to help stop tobacco smoking and make the world a better place for the unborn generations.

Dr. Owen Kaluwa, the World Health Organisation representative to Ghana, said tobacco smoke was dangerous as it contained about 69 chemicals that were known to cause cancer.

In 2018 alone, a total of over 39,000 new cases of lung cancer were diagnosed in Africa and close to 38,000 deaths occurred.

Consequently, about 16500 children worldwide die before age five as a result of exposure to second- hand tobacco smoke which caused pneumonia, bronchitis and lower respiratory infections.

He lauded Ghana for implementing the World Health Organisation (WHO) framework convention on tobacco control and also for ratifying the protocol on illicit trade of tobacco products.

He urged the government to adopt and enforce tobacco-control policies aimed at reducing the demand for tobacco and promoting tobacco cessation.

The World No Tobacco Day is celebrated every year to broadcast greater awareness of the dangers associated with tobacco and exposure to tobacco smoke.

This year’s theme Tobacco and Lung Health focuses on the negative impacts that tobacco has on the lungs and what could be done to reduce tobacco-related risk to lung health.

Source: GNA

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