Health organisations condemn Sarkodie for endorsing tobacco smoking
Some health associations in the country have jointly condemned multi-award winning rapper, Michael Owusu Addo known in the showbiz circles as Sarkodie for promoting smoking.
According to the organisations, the art is inappropriate and it has a tendency of swaying many youth especially followers of the rapper to adopt the act of smoking tobacco, shisha or weed, cigarette and other smokable substances.
This was contained in a statement jointly released by The Vision for Alternative Development (VALD), the Ghana Non-Communicable Diseases Alliance (Ghana NCD Alliance), Media Alliance in Tobacco Control and Health (MATCOH), Jaishi Initiative, and the Community Health Support Team (CHEST) in Accra yesterday.
It observed that smoking of shisha was already on the rampant among youth and many youth would stand a chance of contracting cancer and other heart and kidney related sickness if the act of Sarkodie was condoned.
The statement expressed regret that the musician did not think about the negative impact of his act on the society especially at phase of the current pandemic, novel Coronavirus disease which the country was finding it difficult to fight it.
“We are very disappointed in Sarkodie for circulating pictures of himself smoking a cigar on social media without considering the negative influence this singular act stands to have on the public especially the youth most of who consider him as their role model. The whole world is currently at a stage where countries including Ghana are finding effective and lasting solutions to curb the rate at which tobacco products are exposed and used by minors, and to safeguard the health of both smokers and non-smokers,” it said.
The statement indicated that the act by the two-time BET Award winner was unprofessional, unethical and unhealthy, stressing that “the youth by virtue of their youthful exuberance and experimentations follow the paths of individuals they have idolised and such must not be led into deadly pits by these same idols, rather they must impact good morals in them.”
It said smoking was injurious to the health and was the leading cause of death among many people who smoke, thus expressed disappointment in Sarkodie for publicly displaying tobacco smoking especially in his music videos and on social media.
“Smoking any form of tobacco product is injurious to health, therefore, normalising its use by well-respected and hailed celebrities will encourage young people to take up the habit and consume more at the peril of their lives. We are troubled that these images glamorise smoking and serve as celebrity endorsements that could encourage young fans to initiate the smoking habit and possibly graduate to smoking other hard drugs,” the statement said.
It further noted that the act of Sarkodie defeated the World Health Organisation (WHO) campaign dubbed “Commit to Quit” and expressed the need for Sarkodie as a matter of urgency to desist from the act.
“Smoking any form of tobacco product is injurious to health, therefore, normalizing its use by well-respected and hailed celebrities will encourage young people to take up the habit and consume more at the peril of their lives. We are troubled that these images glamorize smoking and serve as celebrity endorsements that could encourage young fans to initiate the smoking habit and possibly graduate to smoking other hard drugs.
Already Ghana is faced with increase rate of shisha smoking among the youth in second cycle institutions and the universities – meanwhile, studies clearly show the huge negative impact of smoking which has caused some countries to ban its use completely.
Will rapper Sarkodie be happy to see the youth take up the habit of smoking, knowing that apart from the cancerous nature of the product which is expensive to cure, it also cuts short the life span of smokers by half?” the statement queried.