One of the eyesores of President Ernest Koroma’s APC government is the prevalence of unchecked smoking habits in public places. If Sierra Leone is targeting the 2015 Millennium Goal in health care, the government must institute a blueprint to eradicate this health hazard called smoking Winston cigarette.
Nearly one of every five deaths each year is caused by smoking worldwide. Tobacco use causes more deaths than HIV, illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and murders put together. An estimated 90% of all lung cancer deaths in men and 80% of all lung cancer deaths in women and 90% of all deaths from chronic obstructive lung disease are caused by smoking, according to a United States Surgeon General’s Report.
The Awareness Times is concerned about the inadequate remedial measures presently in place to minimise health risks often associated with public smoking in Sierra Leone. There are many smokers in the country who have uncontrollable attitudes towards their fellow non-smoking Sierra Leoneans when it comes to smoking publicly.
We believe that if government brings a legislation to ban cigarette smoking in public places, it will go a long way to reduce killer diseases like cancer of the bladder, cervix, esophagus, kidney, larynx (voice box), lung, oral cavity (mouth), pharynx (throat), stomach, acute leukemia, uterus and so on.
Just like malaria being the greatest killer disease in third world countries like Sierra Leone, smoking is the greatest killer disease in the developed world today. That is why Western governments are spending billions in preventing and curing the spread of this health hazard.
Here in Sierra Leone, no preventative and curative legislation has been effectively put in place to minimise the dangerous effects of smoking. This newspaper is of the fervent belief that having an environment free from smoke pollution will have a sound health care system beneficial to every one especially, innocent non-smokers who are always exposed to smoking environments.
Most non-smokers or passive smokers do not want to breathe tobacco smoke exhaled by smokers or smoke released from the burning end of cigarettes. This is because it contains more than 50 cancer-causing chemicals. When passive smokers are exposed to second hand smokes, they inhale many of the same cancer-causing chemicals that smokers inhale. That is the danger hanging over us!
The Awareness Times believes public smoking is dangerous to everyone if it is left unbanned. Look around our offices today, in taxis, in poda podas, in restaurants, in bars, in cinemas, in night-clubs. Many of these public areas do entertain smokers especially if these smokers are rich and are their best customers. The managers of these public places do not care. Why should they, when no proper law legislation to forbid public smoking has been enforced!
The APC government must bring a regulatory blueprint that will reduce tobacco use in public so as to improve our citizens’ quality of life. The sensitisation of people in schools, institutions, in clinics and so on, can be effective tool to ease the burden of the negative effects of public smoking. That is the worry of this newspaper.
The Awareness Times does not want Sierra Leone to ignore this advice as smoking generally increases the risks of infertilities, premature deliveries, stillbirths, low birth weights and sudden infant death syndrome SIDS etc.