The World Health Organisation (WHO), set aside May 31, every year for the celebration of “the World No Tobacco Day”.
The day was inaugurated in 1987 by the organisation to draw global attention to the prevalence of tobacco use and its attendant health hazards.
But as the world marked the 2009 edition of the event, many Nigerian smokers and even non-smokers are still ignorant of the dangers of smoking.
For Malam Nuhu Abubakar, who operates a provision store (kiosk) at Ikwerre Road in Port Harcourt, the cigarette business brings him more money daily.
He said that cigarette smokers patronised his shop more than other customers.
“At times, smokers wake me up as late as 1 a.m. to buy a stick of cigarette and if I refuse to open my kiosk, they will force it open to show how desperate they need that cigarette.
“I do not smoke. I cannot understand what they (smokers) derive in smoking. My concern is to make my money,” he said.
However, if smokers in Nigeria realise the health hazards of the habit, it would make some of them to stop smoking.
Perhaps, available statistics from WHO on smoking could make some of them to quit the habit.
WHO said that about 15 billion cigarettes are sold daily or 10 million sold every minute.
The world No Tobacco Day aims to reduce the 5.4 million yearly deaths from tobacco related health problems.
WHO said that among people aged between 13 years and 15 years, about one in five smoked worldwide.
According to the organisation, smoking is the single largest preventable cause of disease and premature death.
It said that smoking was a prime factor in heart disease, stroke and chronic lung cancer.
Smoking can cause cancer of the lungs, larynx, oesophagus, mouth and bladder cancer and contributes to cancer of the cervix, pancreas and kidneys.
WHO also stated that smoking related diseases killed one in 10 adults globally or caused four million deaths.
It also stated that by 2030, if current smoking trend continues, smoking would kill one in every six persons.(NAN)