May 31st of every year has been set aside by the United Nations to mark the World ‘No Tobacco ‘Day and the theme for the year’s celebration was “Growing up without Tobacco”. This was necessitated by the fact that studies have revealed that young people becoming more addicted to tobacco, through aggressive marketing and advertising strategies of its manufacturers’ giving rise to the need now more than ever, to wage a relentless war against the hazardous effects of tobacco smoking in young people.
Action Health Incorporated was not left out of this campaign. As a way of enlightening adolescents on the dangers of tobacco use, an educational session was conducted for young people who visit AHI’s Youth Centre.
Oludare ogunyombo, a Youth Peer Educator, who facilitated the event, described nicotine, the active ingredient in tobacco, as a drug that affects the central nervous system, possessing both stimulating and depressing properties and no medical use. Nicotine, he said, is the agent that causes addiction, and its effects include giving the user the feeling of exhilaration and dependency. He also explained that carbon monoxide, which comes along with smoking tobacco, takes up space in the blood should deliver to cells. The effect of this being increased heartbeat rate and elevated the blood pressure. He stressed that these ingredients are potential cancer-causing agents and should be avoided.
In the course of the session, picture charts of diseases associated with tobacco was shown to the participants. Some of these include bronchitis, bladder cancer, kidney cancer, lung cancer and ulcer. The participants were disturbed by these pictures and some made a commitment to stop smoking.