Zero tobacco in schools and universities

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May 11th without tobacco in our places of knowledge

From 1 May 2018, the NGO FAITH is launching the project called zero tobacco in our high schools, colleges and universities. This activity, which is in keeping with our association’s second objective of informing, educating and communicating for a change in hygiene and health behaviour, will take place every first fortnight of the month from May 2018.

The consequences of tobacco use are multiple and multifaceted. This phenomenon, once the prerogative of adults, has for some time become the cancer that eats away at young people in general and that of our high schools and colleges in particular.

Recent WHO statistics are alarming. Tobacco kills one person every 06 seconds and 06 million each year worldwide. By 2030, 10 million deaths a year will be 10 million, 70% of which will be in developing countries, making tobacco the leading cause of death.

Notwithstanding these statistics, the tobacco industry spends $10 billion each year to attract new customers who replace those who die or quit.

This scourge is therefore of concern to the international community because of the sharp increase in cigarette use and other forms of tobacco use among children and adolescents worldwide, especially as they begin to smoke at an increasingly young age. These new customers are mostly young people; most start drinking before the age of 18 and almost a quarter of them at age 10 (WHO); hence the term ‘paediatric disease’ to refer to smoking among young people. These young people underestimate the health risks of tobacco and the risk of addiction is high.

The more children start smoking younger, the more likely they are to become regular users, the less likely they are to quit.

If the statistics continue, 250 million children and adolescents who continue to smoke today will die as adults from tobacco-related diseases.

The phenomenon has also reached our high schools, colleges and universities, yet places of knowledge and sanctuaries.

Factors that promote smoking in schools and universities include:

– Neglect to see complicity of adults

– Attractive messages and aggressive advertisements from cigarette manufacturers about their product

– The cozy economic conditions

– Academic difficulties (sublimation or conversion) lead young students into a vicious circle.

– The environment of smokers (away from parents, the entourage).

– The influence of the media (advertisements, films, telenovelas, social networks).

The headlines of some news dailies in Africa are very evocative:

– ‘Smoking and drugs in schools, the smoke that consumes students’; The Burkina Faso Observer, October 2016

– ”Cotonou, students, new tobacco masters”: Free Morning July 2017.

According to Benin’s Ministry of Health, the phenomenon is increasing within the juvenile layer by 5.3% in 2009, rising to 7% in 2016 (National Tobacco Control Day 2016).

May 11th in our high schools, colleges and universities is the date of all dangers because, taking as a pretext the celebration of reggae music icon Bob Marley, both attend passive consumption of tobacco and all kinds of prohibited products in our places of knowledge.

The consequences have names: environmental pollution, low success rates in exams, delayed school and university, the deterioration of the mental, psychological and physical health of our children, poverty etc… And, these consequences affect both smokers and non-smokers.

Passive smoking is also a real problem for young people. It is estimated that worldwide, 40% of children under the age of 14 are exposed to second-hand smoke. About 28% of the 600,000 deaths caused each year by second-hand smoke occur in children who most often die from mostly lower respiratory diseases.

All these reasons mentioned and detailed make the relevance of this project, which will be extended over ten years.

ONG FAITH

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