May 31, 2017 marks the celebration of World No Tobacco Day. This year the theme chosen by the World Health Organization (WHO) is “Tobacco – a threat to development“.
The World Health Organization (WHO) hopes to highlight the threat the tobacco industry poses to the sustainable development of all countries, including health and economic well-being of their citizens. The organization also encourages countries to include tobacco control in their national actions under the Sustainable Development Program to 2030.
According to the WHO, 37% of Cameroonians are exposed to smoking and 60% of smokers are under 20 years of age. In a previous edition, André Mama Fouda, Minister of Public Health, stressed the existence of a group of experts on smoking, banning advertising, marking cigarette packages, Non-smoking environments, smoking cessation centers in Yaoundé and Douala. According to André Mama Fouda, tobacco advertising is prohibited in Cameroon, and those who persist in promoting tobacco violate regulations.
Tobacco kills six million people each year, of which a quarter are children who are victims of passive smoking. If the growing trend of smoking is not reversed, tobacco-related deaths could exceed 8 million per year by 2030, 80% of which in developing countries. In Cameroon, out of the 239,000 deaths in 2014, 31% or 74,000 deaths are due to noncommunicable diseases including 3507 deaths, linked to the direct use of tobacco in all its forms.
WHO therefore intends to support Member States and civil society in combating tobacco industry interference in policy processes that can lead to more robust tobacco control efforts. Encourage the general public and partners to participate in global, regional and national efforts to develop and implement development strategies and plans, and to achieve objectives with priorities for tobacco control measures. Demonstrate how individuals can contribute to a sustainable, tobacco-free world by either committing to never using tobacco products or by ceasing to use these products.