Gambian health official speaks out against tobacco consumption

Gambian health official raises concern over alarming tobacco consumption among school pupils. Learn about the enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act and the devastating impact of tobacco-related illnesses. Find out the economic consequences and prevalence rates in the country.

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Tobacco use among school pupils aged 12 to 20 is frightening, according to a senior program officer under the Directorate for Health Promotion & Education of the Ministry of Health. The Ministry remains resolute in enforcing and applying the 2016 Tobacco Control Act (TCA).


Following a mass arrest of 42 persons for breaching the Tobacco Control Act (TCA) regulation in The Gambia, Seyfo Singhateh reminded the audience that about 8 million people die each year from tobacco-related illnesses, including roughly 890,000 people who are exposed to secondhand smoke.

There are still limitations in effect on the sale, supply, and usage of tobacco products.

"Tobacco-related sickness is becoming more prevalent in low and middle-income countries (LMICs). Smoking causes the death of 33-50% of individuals who use it 15 years earlier on average. Tobacco-related sickness, incapacity, and death cost the economy billions of dollars each year. LMICs, whose economic resources are required for social and economic growth, bear the brunt of these losses."


He also brought up the frightening prevalence numbers of 31% for men and 12.8% for women, emphasising that the rates are higher for men in the 25-34 and 35-44 age groups, respectively, at 31.0 percent and 31.15 percent.

"A typical Gambian man between the ages of 25 and 65 smokes roughly 10 cigarettes a day. About 8.4 percent of high school students aged 12 to 20 smoke shisha "most recently"

Singhateh said that tobacco kills because it includes nicotine, an addictive drug that burns at 1,000 degrees Celsius, releasing pollutants into the air as it is inhaled.


There are 7,000 compounds in cigarettes, 70 recognized carcinogens, and hazardous substances, including acetaldehyde (which destroys tissues all throughout the body), lead, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, benzo pyrene, and acetaldehyde that causes tissue damage, arteries get clogged, and lead to blood clotting. 

When it comes to the expense of health care, he stated that smokers had greater yearly health care expenditures than nonsmokers. These higher costs fall on households, the public purse, and employers/insurers as a result.

"Tobacco-related sickness and early mortality can have a significant impact on both employers and employees, and these costs are shared by both parties. Illness is a key contributor to poverty, which in turn has a severe influence on long-term development."

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