The Federal Government on Monday said there was proof that tobacco users and those with underlying non-communicable diseases were at higher risks of severe Covid-19 outcomes.
The Minister of Health, Dr Osagie Ehanire, stated this in Abuja on Monday at a programme organised to mark the World No Tobacco Day with the theme, ‘Commit to Quit.’
Ehanire said with the evidence available on the contribution of tobacco to the severity of COVID-19, assisting smokers to quit would improve the way the pandemic was handled.
He said the Federal Government was planning to expand the frontiers in the war against tobacco usage in the country.
Parts of the strategy, he added, were to make tobacco products unaffordable, promote increased awareness on risks and increase access to tobacco cessation services.
The minister said, “The tobacco industry prefers more smokers and encourages long term smoking and has even introduced electronic smoking devices, falsely claimed to be less harmful than the conventional cigarettes.”Meanwhile, a human rights organisation, under the aegis of the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, on Monday said tobacco killed 16,100 smokers in Nigerians annually. (Punch)