World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a year-long global campaign against tobacco consumption, targeting 100 million people across 22 countries of the world including Nigeria. WHO is calling on all governments to ensure their citizens have access to brief advice, toll-free quit lines, mobile and digital cessation services, nicotine replacement therapies and other tools that are proven to help people quit. The organization noted that strong cessation services improve health, save lives and save money.
WHO justified its campaign against tobacco with more than 100 reasons to quit tobacco heralding the start of the campaign for World No Tobacco Day 2021 with the theme “Commit to Quit.” A statement released by WHO on Tuesday, indicated that its preliminary findings confirmed that COVID-19 pandemic has increased the desire of smokers to quit the habit.
WHO Director-General, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in the statement said, “It has also led to millions of tobacco users saying they want to quit, thus the campaign which will support at least 100 million people as they try to give up tobacco through communities of quitters. He admitted that quitting tobacco is challenging, especially with the added social and economic stresses that have come as a result of the pandemic.
“Globally, around 780 million people have indicated interest to quit tobacco, but only 30 per cent of them have access to the tools that can help them do so. Together with partners, WHO will provide people with the tools and resources they need to make a successful quit attempt. “Smoking kills eight million people a year, but if users need more motivation to kick the habit, the pandemic provides the right incentive,” said Dr Ghebreyesus.
“The campaign will help create healthier environment that are conducive to quitting tobacco by advocating for strong tobacco cessation policies, increasing access to cessation services, raising awareness of tobacco industry tactics, and empowering tobacco users to make successful quit attempts through ‘quit & win’ initiatives.
“WHO, together with partners, will create and build-up digital communities where people can find the social support they need to quit. The focus will be on high burden countries where the majority of the world’s tobacco users live.