World Heart Day: Speedy Enforcement of Tobacco Control Laws Will Save Lives, Says CAPPA

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By Sunday Ehigiator

As the global community marks the World Heart Day 2020, the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has re-echoed the need for the Nigeria to be wary of tobacco industry antics and called for a speedy enforcement of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019.

CAPPA, in a signed statement by its Director of Programmes, Philip Jakpor, recently, also wants the government to establish the Tobacco Control Fund as recommended in the NTC Act 2015 to ensure the sustainability of tobacco control policies in the country.

“The World Heart Day was first launched in 2000 by the World Heart Federation. It is celebrated on September 29 of every year to draw global attention to heart illness and a range of associated health issues.

“The day is commemorated to promote different preventive steps and changes in lifestyle to avoid any cardiovascular diseases, like heart attack, stroke, heart failure and any other condition related to the same. An estimated 17 million people die from heart-related illnesses every year.”

CAPPA said the commemoration reminds governments across the globe that they must be deliberate and strategic in regulating products that negatively affect the cardiovascular health of their citizens.

CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi added that this year’s commemoration of the World Heart Day reinforces the need for the Nigerian government to prioritise the heart health of Nigerian citizens.

According to him, “for this to happen, it has to be alert to tobacco industry manipulations and recommendations such as the so-called Draft Policy on Conventional Tobacco and Non-Combusted Alternatives to Cigarette Smoke which will only expose more people to heart diseases, among a host of other debilitating consequences.”

Oluwafemi explained that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown the way by drawing global attention to the fact that just a few cigarettes a day, occasional smoking, exposure to second-hand smoke or E-cigarette use increase the risk of high blood pressure and heart disease.