More public sensitisation on the dangers of tobacco is needed because the consumption of the substance not only affects one’s health but also affects the environment and the development of the country at large.
This was said by Dr Marie Aimee Muhimpundu, the head of non-communicable diseases at Rwanda Biomedical Centre, as Rwanda marked World No Tobacco Day on May 31 under the theme “Tobacco – a threat to development.”
Muhimpundu said that the day was a good platform to remind Rwandans about the dangers of tobacco consumption and its consequences that not only affect health but society at large.
She pointed out that tobacco is one of the factors that cause non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, cancer, heart diseases, among others, and that these are the very ailments that continue to wreak havoc.
“The theme for this year reminds us that we should abstain from smoking for healthy living and a bright future, and at the same time preserve the environment,” she added.
“We are also working with people who own restaurants and bars such that they adhere to the law on public smoking. We are focusing on this such that the number of those who used to smoke in public reduces and we believe that if we continue putting in effort, the habit will cease completely.”
According to research by the Ministry of Health in 2013, 12.9% Rwandans smoke cigarettes or other forms of tobacco.
In Africa, there are 24% people who smoke. According to WHO, about 6 million people die from tobacco use every year.