87% of Nigerians Pledge Support for the Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places

Abuja, Nigeria. October, 2016 –Latest public opinion poll results released by NOIPolls Limited has revealed that 87 percent of Nigerians say they will support a policy to ban smoking in public places, while 76 percent advocate placing a tough restriction on the sale of tobacco products. The Nigerian government has over the years implemented measures aimed at controlling tobacco smoking among its population; the Tobacco Control Act was passed by the 7th Assembly and signed into law in 2015.[1] 

Further findings showed that most Nigerians (71 percent) acknowledged that there is a high prevalence of tobacco consumption in Nigeria, principally amongst males (87 percent). The degree of active participation in tobacco smoking revealed that 14 percent of respondents admitted that they smoke tobacco regularly whereas, 69 percent claimed that they have never smoked tobacco before.  

Also, the poll revealed that smoking remains an increasing high-risk behaviour among the youth, despite its harmful effects on the health as most Nigerians (56 percent) pointed out that tobacco smoking is highly prevalent among the 18–25 years age-group and respondents aged between 18-35 years accounted for the largest proportion of respondents who asserted this statement. Therefore, anti-smoking education and other preventional strategies targeted at the youth are desirable considering 91 percent of Nigerians admitted that tobacco smoking is very harmful to the human health. In addition, most respondents (67 percent) indicated that passive smoking poses serious health harzards and this was mostly affirmed by respondents aged 61 years and above. These were the key findings from the Tobacco Snap Poll conducted in the week of October 10th 2016. 

Brief Background

A 2016 World Health Organization (WHO) report on Tobacco consumption indicates that over five million people die worldwide as a result of tobacco intake annually. The report also revealed that about one billion people in the world practice tobacco smoking with reasons given as recreational and fulfilment of some religious rituals, amongst several others.[2] 

It is estimated that every year more than 17,500 Nigerians are killed by tobacco-related diseases, while over 370,000 children and more than 4.3 million adults continue to use tobacco each day.[3] Complacency in the face of this tobacco epidemic ensures that the tobacco industry continues to run roughshod over the lives of Nigerian citizens and ensuring an escalating death rate from tobacco with each passing year. Smoking is said to be the major cause of cardiovascular, respiratory and coronary heart diseases, as well as lung cancer, heart attacks, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, erectile dysfunction, birth defects and other ailments. 

Nigeria became a Party to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control on January 18, 2006. The National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 regulates all aspects of tobacco control including smoke free places, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, tobacco packaging and labelling, prevention of tobacco industry interference, tobacco product disclosures, the creation of a National Tobacco Control Committee, tobacco product sales, including prohibiting the sale of single sticks among other aspects. 

In view of this, NOIPolls conducted a fresh tobacco smoking poll which is a follow up to the poll conducted in 2014 to ascertain the perception of Nigerians concerning the prevalence of its consumption, its harmful effects as well as the level of support for the implementation of Government’s policies on tobacco consumption.

 

Survey Findings

In seeking the opinion of Nigerians on the prevalence of tobacco smoking, survey results revealed that most Nigerians (71 percent) believe that there is a high prevalence of tobacco smoking in the country. Also, 23 percent of the respondents stated that it is somewhat prevalent whereas 6 percent reported that tobacco smoking is not prevalent at all. 

Subsequently, smoking habits were assessed and findings revealed that a larger proportion of the respondents (69 percent) claimed that they have never smoked tobacco. Further analysis indicates that there are more female (78 percent) than male (61 percent) respondents who say they have never indulged in tobacco smoking while on the other hand, 14 percent of the respondents indicated that they smoke tobacco regularly and 9 percent admitted that they used to smoke but have given up, another 8 percent reported that they sometimes smoke tobacco but not regularly. 

Trend analysis revealed a significant 13-point decline in the number of Nigerians who reported that tobacco is highly prevalent when compared to the 2014 result, and this could be as a result of the tobacco bill that was signed into law in 2015.

 

 Furthermore, a majority of respondents (87 percent) irrespective of gender affirmed that tobacco smoking is highly prevalent amongst males and this represents a significant 79-point difference when compared to those who think it is highly prevalent amongst females. In addition, almost half (49 percent) of the respondents indicated that it is somewhat prevalent amongst the females, while 43 percent of the respondents stated that it is not prevalent at all amongst the female.

 An evaluation of tobacco smoking amongst various age-groups revealed that tobacco consumption is highly prevalent among the youth aged 18-25 years (56 percent). Interestingly, those aged between 18-35 years (58 percent) accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians who asserted this. Tobacco consumption or smoking is prevalent among youths for several reasons ranging from: peer pressure, boosting their ego, getting tipsy, earning perceived recognition or respect, overcoming shyness and depression among other reasons.[4]

The perception of Nigerians about the effects of smoking cigarettes or tobacco products was measured and findings revealed that most Nigerians (91 percent) believed that it is very harmful. This cuts across gender, geo-political zones and age-groups, implying that Nigerians are aware of the implications of tobacco consumption. The harmful effects of tobacco use serve as a motivation for countries the world over, including Nigeria, to implement strict control measures on the consumption and advertisement of tobacco products.

 The risk of second-hand smoke or passive smoking was also assessed and results showed that majority of Nigerians (67 percent) reported that it poses a serious health hazard. Particularly, respondents aged 60 years and above accounted for the largest proportion of Nigerians who stated this. However, 4% of Nigerians believe that second hand smoke poses no health hazard at all.

 

 The poll evaluated the support of Nigerians for Government policies in curbing tobacco consumption and poll results show that majority of the respondents surveyed are in support of laws aimed at reducing the consumption of tobacco in the country. Interestingly, 79 percent advocated that the health warning labels on the packs of cigarettes should be strengthened, 87 percent indicated that smoking in public places should be banned, 76 percent want tougher restrictions on the sale of tobacco products, while banning of all forms of advertisement for tobacco products was supported by 71 percent of the respondents.

 

 

In conclusion, the poll results have shown that majority of Nigerians (71 percent) reported that tobacco smoking or consumption is highly prevalent in Nigeria especially amongst males. The survey results also reveal that youths between the ages of 18 and 25 years have the highest prevalence of tobacco smoking across the various age-groups compared. In light of the above, it is suggestive that health education should be a major component of the health policy in Nigeria to drive awareness on the dangers inherent in smoking cigarettes as well as learning some cessation techniques.  It is interestingly evident that a majority of Nigerians are fully aware of the health implications of smoking cigarettes or tobacco products and they have demonstrated support for government policies against tobacco sale, smoking and consumption. 

Finally, effective implementation and enforcement of the Tobacco Control Act passed by the 7th Assembly and signed into law in 2015, has also been advocated for, as this would help achieve the aim of reducing the victims of tobacco related diseases in Nigeria.

Survey Methods

The opinion poll was conducted in the week of October 10th 2016. It involved telephone interviews of a random nationwide sample. 1,000 randomly selected phone-owning Nigerians aged 18 years and above, representing the six geopolitical zones in the country, were interviewed. With a sample of this size, we can say with 95% confidence that the results obtained are statistically precise - within a range of plus or minus 3%. NOIPolls Limited is the No1 for country specific polling services in West Africa. We conduct periodic opinion polls and studies on various socio-economic and political issues in Nigeria. More information is available at www.noi-polls.com

Disclaimer

This press release has been produced by NOIPolls Limited to provide information on all issues which form the subject matter of the document. Kindly note that while we are willing to share results from our polls with the general public, we only request that NOIPolls be acknowledged as author whenever and wherever our poll results are used, cited or published.

NOIPolls hereby certifies that all the views expressed in this document accurately reflect the views of respondents surveyed for the poll, and background information is based on information from various sources that it believes are reliable; however, no representation is made that it is accurate or complete. Whilst reasonable care has been taken in preparing this document, no responsibility or liability is accepted for errors or fact or for any views expressed herein by NOIPolls for actions taken as a result of information provided in this report. Any ratings, forecasts, estimates, opinions or views herein constitute a judgment as at the date of this document. If the date of this document is not current, the views and content may not reflect NOIPolls’ current findings and/or thinking.

 

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[1] http://www.nigeriatobaccocontrol.com/

[2] http://www.thisdaylive.com/index.php/2016/05/19/over-five-million-people-die-annually-due-to-tobacco-intake-says-who/

[3] http://www.tobaccoatlas.org/country-data/nigeria/

[4] http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en//