Liberia World No Tobacco Day Press Release

31 May 2017 Monrovia :  Action to stamp out tobacco use can help countries prevent millions of people falling ill and dying from tobacco-related diseases, combat poverty and , according to a first ever WHO report, reduce large-scale environmental degradation.

According to the Liberia demography survey (2007) report, most young people were exposed to the use of tobacco and tobacco-related products during the civil war in the country with 21.9% smoking at home . Similarly the Global Youth Survey (2008) reports shows that 660 youths in the capital Monrovia aged between 13-15 use tobacco products.

On World No Tobacco Day 2017, the Ministry of Health and World Health Organization is highlighting how tobacco threatens the development of nations worldwide, and is calling on government to reinforce the Act prohibiting smoking in public places that was passed and enacted into law. These include banning marketing and advertising of tobacco, promoting plain packaging of tobacco products, raising excise taxes and making indoor public places and workplaces smoke- free. 

Tobacco’s health and economic costs

Tobacco use kills more than 7 million people every year and cost households and governments over US $ 1.4 trillion through healthcare expenditure and lost productivity.

“Tobacco threatens us all” says WHO Director General Dr. Margaret Chan. “Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air.

Dr. Chan adds: “But by taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries’ future by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environments from the ravages tobacco causes.”

All countries have committed to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which aims to strengthen universal peace and eradicate poverty. Key elements of this agenda include implementing the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, and by 2010 reducing by one-third premature deaths from noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), including heart and lungs diseases, cancer and diabetes, for which tobacco use is a key risk factor.

Meanwhile , to  ensure sustainability of Liberia’s commitment on the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) ,the Ministry of Health  and WHO has planned  an inter-ministerial meeting to establish a committee that will be responsible to regularly review  the country’s tobacco regulations and  draw up sustainable plans for a smoke-free environment.

Facts about Tobacco

• Tobacco kills up to half of its users. 

• Tobacco kills more than 7 million people each year. More than 6 million of those deaths are the result of direct tobacco use while around 890 000 are the result of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. 

• Nearly 80% of the world's more than 1 billion smokers live in low- and middle-income countries

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