‘Tobacco use leading cause of preventable deaths’

BY: Biiya Mukusah Ali
Mrs Olivia Boateng (Seated 2nd right) with a section of the participants after the conference.
Mrs Olivia Boateng (Seated 2nd right) with a section of the participants after the conference.

Tobacco use is one of the leading cause of preventable deaths in the world with its smoke scientifically known to contain more than 7,000 chemicals, seventy of which cause cancer, and affect all parts of the human body, the Head of Tobacco and Substances Abuse Department of the Food and Drugs Authourity (FDA), Mrs Olivia Agyekumwaa Boateng has disclosed.

According to her, those who use tobacco and also inhale the smoke are exposed to all the 7,000 chemicals and are at risk of the adverse health consequences.

Mrs Boateng was speaking at a stakeholders’ conference on tobacco control regulations and the abuse of tramadol and codeine containing syrups (CCS) at Abesim near Sunyani in the Brong-Ahafo Region.

She expressed worry over increasing rate of smoking in public places and urged the stakeholders, especially the law enforcement agencies, to help in the fight against the act.

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Mrs Boateng explained that breathing second hand smoke interferes with the normal functioning of the heart, the blood and vascular system and increases the risk of having a heart attack 20 to 30 per cent, saying secondhand smoke has serious negative health consequences.

She emphasised the need for the implementation of measures that would ensure that non-smokers were protected from the tobacco smoke emitted from smokers, indicating that research had shown that there was no safe level of exposure to second-hand smoke.

Mrs Boateng said it was estimated that worldwide, 69,000 people die from opioid overdose each year, while another 15 million people suffer from opioid dependence, that is, an addiction to opioids.

She explained that opioids were a class of drugs that include heroin as well as illicit prescription of pain relievers such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, codeine, morphine, fentanyl, remifentanyl, tramadol, pethidine as some of the opioids.

Mrs Boateng cautioned the public, especially the youth against the abuse of tramadol, a man-made (synthetic) narcotic analgesic (painkiller), usually prescribed to patients suffering from moderate to severe pain.

She explained that the approved dosage of tramadol registered for use in Ghana by the FDA were 50 milligramme and