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Death For Sale! Toxic Cigarettes Flood African Market

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Nigeria at risk of circulation of dangerous brands

Few years back, manufacturers of cigarettes sold in Nigeria were compelled to carry warnings on their packs such as “Cigarette smokers are liable to die young” . Warnings such as “The Federal Ministry of Health warns that tobacco smoking is dangerous to health”, “Smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and emphysema and may complicate pregnancy”,   and “Quitting smoking now greatly reduces serious risks to your health” are widespread, but perhaps what they failed to point out is that cigarettes are licensed to kill. Cigarette smoking Even though smoking is a “gradual killer”, it is a deadly finisher. A cigarette is the only consumer product guaranteed to kill the user when used exactly as prescribed. All over the world, smoking is routinely linked with adverse health and declining wellness. Smoking is the No.1 cause of preventable death, killing more people than many known non-communicable disorders. Approximately one person dies every six seconds due to tobacco, accounting for one in 10 adult deaths. Up to half of current users will eventually die of a tobacco-related disease such as cancer, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases and other respiratory diseases. Now there are fears that cigarettes sold in some African countries are more toxic than those smoked in Europe. Ordinarily, cigarettes are toxic to human health, but some brands are even more toxic because they contain higher levels of addictive nicotine and tar. The chemicals in cigarette smoke harm nearly every organ of the body. Tobacco smoke contains a deadly mix of more than 7,000 chemicals. Hundreds are toxic. About 70 are known to cause cancer. None of these chemicals has an overall health benefit. One of the components of cigarettes is nicotine, which is deadly and habit-forming. While smoking harms the smokers’ health, it also puts lives of people around in danger because they inhale the smoke exhaled (second hand smoking). An investigation by Marie Maurisse, winner of Public Eye’s Investigation Award found that every year, Switzerland exports more cigarettes than it does chocolate. Also, exclusive tests showed that the tobacco industry has double standards: cigarettes sold in Africa are more toxic than those smoked in Europe. One of the major destinations of the toxic cigarettes, according to the report, is Casablanca in Morocco where every smoker favours cigarettes made in Switzerland.      It was found that cigarettes produced on Swiss soil and sold in Morocco are much stronger, more addictive and more toxic than those sold in Switzerland or France. For each substance tested, according to the report, nearly all cigarettes produced in Switzerland and consumed in Morocco contained levels higher than that found in Swiss and French cigarettes. The results reveal a double standard – if Moroccans smoke cigarettes that are more harmful than those smoked by Europeans, it can be taken for granted that every other African who smokes actively or passively is at risk. According to the report, Switzerland often promotes the fact that it exports its delicious chocolate, or prestigious watches, to the world. Yet there is another Swiss product that is just as successful, but far less vaunted: cigarettes. In 2016, Switzerland produced 34.6 billion cigarettes – nearly two billion packets. Some 25 per cent were sold on the domestic market. Nearly 75 per cent were exported, providing enough cigarettes for over four million people to smoke a packet a day over the year. Although tobacco sales have fallen by 38 per cent in Europe, over the past 20 years, thanks to preventative campaigns and price increases, the reverse is the case in Africa where producers are increasingly pushing so-called new “reduced-risk products”, which supposedly provide consumers with nicotine without the harmful effects of tobacco. The implication of smoking such toxic cigarettes, according to medical experts, is rise in deaths from lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, and other respiratory diseases. Emerging markets such as Nigeria remain attractive target, no thanks to ineffective regulatory and enforcement activities and weak health policies. Researches estimate that 80 per cent of smokers live in low- or middle-income countries. The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that there are 77 million smokers in Africa, namely 6.5 per cent of the continent’s population. The institution predicts that by 2025, the figure will rise by nearly 40 per cent compared to 2010 – the steepest increase globally. The number of tobacco-related deaths on the continent will double by 2030 in what the WHO describes as an “epidemic”. Marie Maurisse said: “It’s very difficult to investigate the tobacco industry because it’s very secretive”.   Morocco appears to be an excellent gateway into these markets: according to a study carried out by the Moroccan Ministry of Health, 13 per cent of smokers in the country are aged 15 and under. And the proportion of girls who smoke is starting to rival that of boys.   Producers use very aggressive advertising campaigns to attract new and young customers and to promote their cigarettes. In many African countries, there is weak enforcement of laws for preventative measures against tobacco. However, the reverse is the case in Western countries.   According to the WHO: “Evidence shows that measures such as taxing tobacco, graphic warning pictures, a full ban on advertising and promotion of, patronage for and help to stop smoking, all serve to reduce demand for tobacco products. Many of the big global tobacco manufacturers engage in widespread lobbying and legal procedures against evidence-based anti-smoking policies going as far as opposing introduction of health warnings on cigarette packets in some countries. In Morocco just like in Nigeria, there is law adopted to ban smoking in bars and restaurants but it is not enforced.   However, the bottom line is that smoking is no longer fashionable. Many countries have pushed out some of the toughest anti-tobacco laws and restrictions in history. In many countries smoking openly in public places such as restaurants, airports or bus stops is forbidden. Smoking is restricted in designated places and even when you smoke in privacy, people who see you smoking consider you a nuisance and threat to public health. Family and friends repeatedly tell you smoking will kill you. And they are right. The National Tobacco Control Bill, NTCB 2014 stipulates a minimum of six months imprisonment or N50,000 or both for individuals that smoke outside public places designated as smoking areas. However, stronger policies are required to protect the citizens from the dangers of tobacco. Enforcing the ban on public smoking   and saving lives and reducing health costs through the new smoke-free laws are continue to be relevant.

 

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Johesu Protest; CMD begs for treatment of patients

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Dr Liasu Ahmed, the Chief Medical Director (CMD), Federal Medical Centre, Owo, Ondo State, has appealed to health workers in the centre to allow Lassa fever patients receive medical treatment.

Ahmed made the call on Tuesday in Owo while addressing the workers who resolved to conduct a peaceful protest between the hours of 8 a.m and 12 p.m for three days.

Premier news report that the Joint Health Sector Union (JOHESU) declared a nationwide 3-day protest rally nationwide which commenced on Jan. 11. The union members are demanding for payment of their April and May 2018 salary arrears, among other issues.

The CMD said: “The management is appealing to you to shelve your protest rally based on the prevailing situation in the hospital. “That is, the upsurge of Lassa fever in Ondo State, where FMC Owo, is the only treatment centre. “If, however, you still want to proceed in spite of our entreaty, you are advised to seek alternative venue other than the hospital premises and it’s environ for the sake of the patients who will be coming to access healthcare delivery.

“And other staff members who want to go about their legitimate duties and we appeal that you shelve it and help sustain the peace being enjoyed in the hospital.” Reacting, Mr Olusola Adediji, the branch Chairman of JOHESU in the hospital, however said the protest would continue to make concerned authorities to address their grievances.

Adediji noted that the union was also sensitive to the plight of patients as they still render skeletal services within the hours of the protest. “We do not totally paralyze clinical services but allow skeletal work to continue as you can see we understand the critical situation of FMC, Owo, especially as regards healthcare delivery to Lassa fever victims.

“We do not have to disrupt everything. Some of us are still working because we put in passion and we are sensitive to the feelings of our patients. “The directive from our national leadership was that the protest should be from 8 a.m to 12 p.m daily for the three days, but here in FMC, Owo, we stopped around 10.30 a.m yesterday and we will stop by 10 a.m today.

“But at the same time, we need to carry out the struggle to inform the government that we mean business and that they should implement our demands,” he said. that the protesters carried placards with different inscriptions like: “JOHESU Members are the Original Owners of Skipping Arrears’’;

“Pay our Money’’; “Professional Autonomy is the Answer’’; “On Upward Review of CONHESS We Stand’’; “The Atrocities, Illegalities and Tyranny in the Health Sector Must Stop’’.

 

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At Least 99 Dead After Consuming Toxic Alcohol In India

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At least 99 people have died and scores have been hospitalised in northern India after drinking toxic alcohol, triggering a crackdown against bootleggers, officials said Monday.

News of the deaths in the states of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand has trickled in over the past three days, with police suspecting the moonshine had been cut with methanol.

Authorities said many victims had complained of dizziness and were taken to hospital writhing in pain after consuming the illicit alcohol.

Cheap, locally-made liquor is common in parts of rural India and bootleggers often add methanol — a highly toxic form of alcohol sometimes used as an anti-freeze — to their product to increase its strength.

If ingested in large quantities, methanol can cause blindness, liver damage and death.

In one district of Uttar Pradesh, 59 people had died after consuming toxic alcohol, police spokesman Shailendra Kumar Sharma told AFP.

In a neighbouring district, a senior police officer said nine had died, adding that 66 suspected bootleggers had been arrested in the state and samples of the liquor sent to a laboratory for testing.

Police said at least 31 people died in neighbouring Uttarakhand state and that two had been arrested on suspicion of supplying the liquor. Four suspects have been arrested in the state.

“We are trying to find out the main source of this illicit liquor. We will soon nab the main culprit behind this tragedy,” Janmejay Khanduri, senior Uttarakhand police official told AFP.

Newspaper reports said around 3,000 people linked with the illegal trade were arrested across Uttar Pradesh in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Hundreds of poor people die every year in India due to alcohol poisoning, mostly from consuming cheap alcohol.

In 2015, more than 100 people died in a Mumbai slum after drinking illegal moonshine.

Of the estimated five billion litres of alcohol drunk every year in India, around 40 per cent is illegally produced, according to the International Spirits and Wine Association of India.

 

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Black Seed, A Remedy For All Diseases

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RESEARCH

Black seed is a plant which humans have used to make medicine for over 2000 years, the Premier writes on this immensely powerful seed also called nigella sativa. You may or may not have heard of Black seed (nigella sativa) before, but this humble, but immensely powerful seed, kills MRSA, stimulates regeneration of the dying beta cells within the diabetic’s pancreas, eliminates harmful bacteria to regenerating the body’s cells and tissues but, yet only few people even know it exists. Mounting evidence indicates this seed is a powerful healer. Nigella-sativa goes by many names, including black caraway, black sesame, Roman coriander, and black cumin, to name a few. But no matter what you call it, these seeds are loaded with health benefits that we are only beginning to understand, from eliminating harmful bacteria to regenerating the body’s cells and tissues, here are awesome research-backed health benefits of black cumin, but these benefits of nigella sativa are truly only the tip of the iceberg as research is still ongoing. The health conditions that may be benefited from the use of the herb, including over 20 distinct pharmacological actions it expresses, such as: analgesic (Pain-Killing), anti-Bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-ulcer, anti-cholinergic, anti-fungal, ant-hypertensive, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiviral, bronchodilator, gluconeogenesis inhibitor (anti-diabetic), hepatoprotective (liver protecting), hypotensive, insulin sensitizing,    interferon inducer, leukotriene antagonist, renoprotective (kidney protecting), tumor necrosis factor alpha inhibitor. Asthma: Research shows that taking black seed by mouth along with asthma medicines can improve coughing, wheezing, and lung function in some people with asthma. But it seems to work only in people with very low lung function before treatment. And it does not seem to work as well as the drugs theophylline or salbutamol. Diabetes: Early research shows that taking black seed powder can improve blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. Black seed might also improve levels of cholesterol in people with diabetes. Doses of 2 grams daily seem to be needed for any benefit. High Blood Pressure: Research shows that taking black seed by mouth might reduce blood pressure by a small amount. To Improve Sperm Function: Research shows that taking black seed oil increases the number of sperm and how quickly they move in men with infertility. Breast pain (mastalgia): Research shows that applying a gel containing black seed oil to the breasts during the menstrual cycle reduces pain in women with breast pain. Breast Cancer – A few studies have linked a thymoquinone extract from nigella sativa to reduced breast cancer tumor growth and increased apoptosis (cell death) in breast cancer cells. Epilepsy –  A recent study found black seed to be effective at reducing the frequency of seizures in children who resisted conventional treatment. Black seed indeed has anti-convulsive properties. Leukemia – As it’s been shown to do with other types of cancer, black seed compound thymoquinone has also been shown to induce apoptosis in leukemia cells. Brain Damage from Lead – A study published in Experimental and Toxicologic Pathology  indicates black seed is able to dampen and reverse damage to the brain sparked by lead toxicity. Oral Cancer – Research indicates thymoquinone from nigella sativa is able to induce cell apoptosis in oral cancer cells. Colon Cancer – In cell studies, black seed has been found to have anti-cancer properties, inhibiting the growth of colon cancer cells specifically. In one animal study, the seed was able to fight colon cancer in rats successfully with no observable side effects. The same obviously can’t be said for conventional cancer treatments. MRSA – The deadly and antibiotic-resistant bacterial infection known commonly as MRSA responded favorably to treatment with black seed in this study from the University of Health Sciences in Lahore. Protection Against Heart Attack Damage – An extract from black seed has been shown to possess heart-protective qualities, dampening damages associated with heart attacks and boosting overall heart health. Brain Cancer – A study published in the online journal PLoS One indicates thymoquinone from black seed can induce cell death in glioblastoma cells. Glioblastoma is one of the most aggressive brain tumors of all. However, the safety and efficacy of Nigella sativa have not been fully evaluated in pregnant women. As with any supplement, pregnant or breastfeeding women should talk to their doctor to see if black seed oil is right for them before using it. Although black seed oil seems to offer certain health benefits, this supplement does not replace medication. People taking medication should talk to their doctor before using herbal supplements, such as black seed oil. The doctor can advise on possible interactions with the medication and also discuss the potential benefits and side effects of the supplement. It is essential never to stop taking medication without a doctor’s advice. With topical use, black seed oil can cause an allergic rash in some people. Therefore, it is vital to test it on a small patch of skin first to ensure that it does not trigger a reaction. To get the safest and most beneficial black seed oil, always choose high-quality, organic black seed oil that is 100-percent pure, therapeutic grade and approved by NAFDAC.

 

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