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Secondhand Smoke Exposure

The issue of exposure to secondhand smoke is a serious public health concern in Lagos, as residents in some communities are constantly exposed to the harmful effects of smoking activities. The increase in respiratory illnesses, heart diseases, and other health conditions associated with this problem is alarming. The negative impact on pregnant women, old people, children, and vulnerable groups cannot be overemphasized.

Residents of notorious neighborhoods like Mushin, Oshodi, and Bariga have been suffering from the constant exposure to secondhand smoke. They have complained about persistent headaches, respiratory problems, and other health issues resulting from inhaling hazardous elements coming from deadly secondhand smoke. For instance, Tolulope Gbadebo has been experiencing headaches for more than two years due to her frequent exposure to smoking activities that occurred at Amodu Street, Mushin. She recounted how her 10-year-old son suffered from asthma, a respiratory disease triggered by secondhand smoke, and how she had to take her children to her sister’s house on weekends to avoid the smoke-filled air.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), persistent exposure to secondhand smoke can cause lung cancer in non-smokers and increase the risk of coronary heart disease. The WHO report also states that when second-hand smoke contaminates the air, especially in enclosed spaces, it is inhaled by everyone, exposing both smokers and non-smokers to its harmful effects.

Secondhand Smoke Exposure
Secondhand Smoke Exposure

According to a study conducted by the Nigerian Journal of Clinical Practice, exposure to secondhand smoke is prevalent among non-smokers in Lagos, with a prevalence rate of 57.4%. The study also revealed that this problem affected mostly females, those with lower education levels, and those living in lower socioeconomic areas.

Another study published in BioMed Central Public Health showed that secondhand smoke exposure is a significant risk factor for respiratory diseases such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer. This study estimated that exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 600,000 deaths worldwide each year.

The situation in some Lagos communities where drug-smoking gangs have made a particular location their joint for smoking dangerous substances like hemp and marijuana is alarming. These smoking gangs usually comprise young men and even women who blatantly disregard the health risks involved in their activities. Their activities spike the incidence of some health issues among the residents, especially the vulnerable group of pregnant women, old people, and children.

The Lagos State government needs to take urgent steps to address this public health concern. It is essential to launch awareness campaigns targeted at sensitizing residents of the dangers of smoking in public spaces. There should also be a concerted effort by relevant authorities to clamp down on the activities of drug-smoking gangs in these communities. The National Drug Law Enforcement Agency, in collaboration with other law enforcement agencies, should ensure that these illegal drug hubs are closed down.

In conclusion, the issue of exposure to secondhand smoke is a public health concern that requires urgent attention. The Lagos State government needs to take proactive steps to address this problem and safeguard the health of its residents. It is crucial to create a smoke-free environment that promotes healthy living for all. We need to act now to prevent further harm to the health of vulnerable groups, especially pregnant women, old people, and children.

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