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Health Watch: Tobacco Responsible For Over 8 Million Deaths Yearly – Anatomy Profesor

A University of Ilorin professor of Anatomy, Gabriel Omotoso, has identified tobacco smoking as a leading reason for preventable death and disease worldwide, saying that it “causes more than eight million deaths yearly”.

Professor Omotoso, who made the declaration while delivering the 259th inaugural lecture of the university, said that the latest global estimate of tobacco users is 1.25 billion people, 80 per cent of which are in low- and middle-income countries.

In the inaugural lecture, titled, “White Matter Matters in the Search for Phytochemical Candidates for Demyelinating Disorders,” the don posited that out of the eight million yearly deaths from tobacco usage, “1.3 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke”.

Omotoso, who lectures in the Department of Anatomy, Faculty of Basic Clinical Sciences, College of Health Sciences, University of Ilorin, however, 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, pointing out that in Nigeria for instance, 10 per cent of the population smoke tobacco daily”.

The don identified some adverse consequences of cigarette smoke on different organs of the body including 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, he 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, stressing the need for the government to “take a cue from other countries, such as New Zealand, United Kingdom and Australia to effect this”.

Noting the urgent need for public enlightenment to educate society about the harmful effects of cigarette smoke, Omotoso underscored the need to improve access to diagnostic tools to mitigate the challenge of disease diagnosis in the country.

Pointing out that “tobacco smoking, whether actively or passively, is deadly”, Professor Omotoso said it should be avoided like a plague.

He specifically advised pregnant women or women planning to conceive, to avoid tobacco exposure. CHANNELS 

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