The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), has launched the “Don’t Burn Their Future” campaign in what it described as a resolute effort to safeguard the health and future of Nigeria’s youth.

The launch of the campaign is coming at a time when 4.5 million Nigerians aged 15 and above are tobacco users, with more than 26,800 annual deaths attributed to tobacco-related diseases. Thus, the initiative is aimed at addressing the alarming rise in young and underage access to tobacco products and ultimately, curbing the detrimental impact on society.

Speaking at the launch, Dr. Adamu Ahmed Abdullahi, Acting Executive Vice Chairman of the FCCPC, emphasized that the dynamic nature of sound health, which encompasses physical, mental, and social well-being.

According to him, the campaign underscores the collective responsibility of individuals, communities, and a prioritised healthcare system in fostering a healthier future for the youth.

He also highlighted the grave risks associated with youth tobacco use, ranging from impacts on brain development to respiratory issues and increased nicotine dependence. “Figures have revealed that 4.5 million Nigerians aged 15 and above are tobacco users, with more than 26,800 annual deaths attributed to tobacco-related diseases,” he said.

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The campaign’s scope extends beyond warnings, featuring a collaborative approach with Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to provide counseling services for those aiming to quit smoking. Toll-free lines have been established to bridge the gap to a smoke-free future, emphasizing support and follow-up.

Also commenting, Prof Muhammad Ali Pate, Minister of Health, noted that the campaign by the FCCPC is in alignment with the national objective on tobacco control. “Tobacco is a major risk factor for non-communicable diseases like hypertension, stroke, cancers, diabetes and chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases,” the Minister, who was represented by Dr. Malau Toma, Head of the Tobacco Unit at the Ministry highlighted.

He revealed that more than eight million deaths every year worldwide, with over seven million of these deaths occurring as a result of direct tobacco use while about 1.2 million are from non-smokers’ exposure to second-hand smoke.

The “Don’t Burn Their Future” campaign sets the stage for a series of symposiums, lectures, hangouts, and meetings with young people nationwide, reinforcing the message of a tobacco-free future. The FCCPC calls on all stakeholders, including tobacco manufacturers, to join hands in this crucial endeavour.