Youth March Against Tobacco in Addis Ababa

Hundreds of youth engaged in a 5-kms walk in Addis Ababa to mark the 2010 World No Tobacco Day, which was observed across the world for the 23rd time. The day was marked in Ethiopia for the 21st time.Image

The youth, many of them high school students, participated in the walk shouting slogans against tobacco companies and tobacco users that are breaching the rights of non-smokers mainly women and young men and girls who are becoming major target for tobacco products.
“Tobacco advertisements using sensational women’s picture result in serious health damage on women”
“Tobacco causes fatal health damage”
“Make everyday world no tobacco day” were some of the placards upheld by the youth. State minister of health Dr. Kebede Worku told the gathering the health impact caused by tobacco users is not tolerable. Women and children who are relatives of smokers are facing a variety of health dangers in their daily life, he said.
There is need to bring all efforts and resources together so as to protect women and children, the most vulnerable segments of the society, he stressed.

Speaking on the occasion, Director General of Drug Administration and Control Authority Yehuludenkew Alamneh said tobacco is one of the major killers across the world, claiming over 5 million lives each year. Recent data show that tobacco kills one person in every six seconds.

Image “Tobacco companies are using women pictures to allure girls and boys who are passionate for styles and beauty into a life-long smoking that leads to eventual death,” he said.
These companies are killing the most productive part of the public causing serious impacts on a county’s social and economic sectors, Yehuludenekew added. “Tobacco is not a symbol of beauty or style. But, it is a serious health problem that leads into various types of diseases and eventual death,” he said.
The Director General urged leaders of public and private sectors, policy makers and health practitioners to protect young men and women from tobacco damages.

World Health Organization regional director, Dr. Luis G. Sambo also said on the occasion that the tobacco industry has launched aggressive marketing campaigns increasingly targeting women and girls.
“In the African region recent survey shows that tobacco use among girls has levels comparable to boys, and that the use of tobacco products other than cigarette is on the increase,” she said.
“I call up on policy makers to develop and enforce a comprehensive ban on direct or indirect advertisements, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products,” Dr. Sambo insisted.
Over 500 participants including students, young men and women, employees from DACA and WHO as well as social organizations took part in the walk that was concluded in a ceremony held at Mesqal Square.

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