Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the West Africa Behavioural and Harm Reduction, Mr. Adamu Mohammed, has cautioned parents against the initiation of their children into tobacco smoking and alcoholic intake by sending them to buy tobacco-related products and alcoholic beverages.
Mr. Mohammed, who doubles as a focal point person for Ghana Chapter of the West Africa Drug Policy Network, stressed that by sending children to buy harmful products as tobacco and alcohol, they are tempted to imitate their parents by trying to taste smoking alcoholic beverages.
Mr. Mohammed gave the warning at a day training workshop for journalists on drug policy organised by the Ghana Chapter of the West Africa Drug Policy Network in Accra.
The event which was held at the Ghana International Press Centre (GIPC) was aimed at strengthening capacity on Ghanaian journalists to engage and advocate on issues of drug policy, drug prevention treatment, harm reduction, security and governance in West Africa.
Mr. Mohammed therefore called on the central government to design policy that will ensure that children below eighteen years (18) are not sent to buy or allowed to sell tobacco related products and alcoholic beverages.
According to him, tobacco smoking and excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages has been found to be high among the youth worldwide and thus called on the youth to stop smoking and excessive drinking.
Some journalists at the programme who spoke to Today attributed the high prevalence of smoking among the youth to early exposure and peer pressure, and said if the trend were not reversed, tobacco related deaths that currently stood at four million a year worldwide could increase to seven million.
They pointed out that a survey on tobacco smoking by the Ghana Health Service (GHS) showed that more than 14 per cent of Junior High School (JHS) pupils had tried smoking cigarettes while over 19 per cent currently uses tobacco products.
“About 55 per cent of such students who bought cigarettes in a store were not refused purchase despite their age and over 21 per cent of JHS pupils lived in homes where others smoke,” the journalists noted.
The journalists stated that to be able to control the current situation, there was the need to develop, support and promote measures and coordinate response to protect all persons from exposure to tobacco smoke and promote cessation to decrease consumption.
They also called on Parliament to expedite action on the passage of a law against the use of tobacco in the country, to help curb the health problems resulting from tobacco smoking.
They also emphasised the need to discourage workplace smoking as well as smoking in public places since “such habits expose great health dangers to those who inhale the smoke.”
The participatory journalists said the Ghana Chapter of the West Africa Drug Policy Network had demonstrated that innovative, community-based approach was effective in mobilising and motivating unprecedented number of people to make a joint and sustained effort to stop smoking and drinking over a specific period of time.
They said the workshop organised by the Ghana West Africa Drug Policy Network offered direct and positive incentives as it gave the chance for participants to learn the socio-environmental and economic as well as heath effect of smoking and took intake of alcoholic beverages.
They reiterated an earlier appeal for all to join in the campaign against tobacco smoking and the excessive intake of alcoholic beverages.
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