The Ministry of Health (MoH) has disclosed that over 807,600 of Ghana’s population smoke cigarettes, shisha, and other tobacco products.
According to the Ministry, 75 of these smokers die from smoking-related illness almost every week.
This, it said, is a very serious public threat that needs concerted effort to address.
The Ministry disclosed this in a statement as part of commemoration of the World Tobacco Day, which fell on May 31.
It indicated that pursuant to part six (6) of the Public Health Act, 2012, Act 851, the nation continues to advocate for strong tobacco cessation policies.
The MoH, Ghana Health Service, and the Food and Drugs Authority (FDA) together with other civil society organizations joined in the global call to urge users of tobacco and tobacco products to quit in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The theme for this year’s annual awareness campaign is “Commit to Qui.”
“Despite the fact that quitting smoking can be challenging, studies have demonstrated significant benefits, for instance, after just 20minutes of quitting smoking, the elevated heart rate of smokers’ drops, within 12 hours, carbon monoxide levels in the blood equally adjust to normal.”
“There has also been evidence of improvement in blood circulation and lung function within 12 weeks. In addition, major complications of smoking including risks of stroke and lung cancer decrease to that of a non-smoker,” a statement by the Ministry said.
The use of nicotine and other toxic chemicals increases the risk of cancer, cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.
Considering these severe health effects and their impacts on the world’s population, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other global partners continue to raise awareness on the harmful effects of tobacco use, second-hand smoke exposure and discourage the use of tobacco in all forms.
Worldwide, tobacco kills more than 8 million people annually.
More than 7 million of these deaths are from direct tobacco use and around 1.2 million are due to non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke.
The ministry, therefore urged people who want to quit smoking to access help in the various health facilities across the country in a pledge to support to all tobacco users as they commit to quit smoking.