The African Union (AU) has called for attention to the observance of a healthy life style among citizens of Africa to protect human resource, important to drive socio-economic developments on the continent.Tobacco
Stating that the challenge posed by tobacco gravely threatens the continent’s future, the pan-African bloc has emphasized the need to formulate clear response to protect human health and combat avoidable health and socio-economic consequences of tobacco use.
The 54-member union on Thursday celebrated the 7th edition of Africa Healthy Lifestyle Day under the theme “Tobacco Free Environment Starts with You” at the AU Headquarters in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, according to a statement from AU on Friday.
Through the observance of a healthy life style, African citizens can preserve their health and participate fully in development process that will lead us to the Africa we want, said Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission.
Expressing AU’s commitment to bringing an Africa free of tobacco, Mwencha underlined the need for Africa to protect human resources, the most important resource of the continent.
“The commitment was started in 1999 and intensified in the following years, leading to a unified voice in Africa committing to tobacco control and improved public health,” noted the Deputy Chairperson.
“This is time for action. Africa must show leadership in ensuring that the present tide is reversed and that the next generation will suffer less from harmful effects of tobacco,” he said.
Mustapha Sidiki Kaloko, AU Commissioner for Social Affairs, said the Agenda 2063 has cited the effects of smoking which needs to be improved at the very onset of the 50 years target.
Kaloko underlined that early messages should be sent about the devastating consequences of smoking to address the problem of smoking among young people.
“We know that most of them start smoking when they are as young as 8 years old. Therefore, there is a need to impart clear messages to children when they are still in primary school on the magnitude of the effects of smoking,” he said.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco is one of the primary causes of preventable deaths in the world.
About six million are currently estimated to die annually from tobacco use, with over 600,000 deaths due to exposure to second- hand smoke.
In Africa, tobacco-attributable mortality is currently around 3 percent, according to a statement from AU. Enditem

Source: Xinhua

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