Group calls for enforcement of tobacco control laws

By Abigael Joshua
Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) on Thursday in Abuja called on law enforcement agencies to enforce tobacco control laws to save the lives of Nigerians.

Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, Chairman, NTCA, made the call at a press briefing on “Stop Tobacco Industry Interference, enforce graphic health warning now.

The chairman, represented by Mr Nwokorie Chibuike, Programme Manager, NTCA, said that the projections reiterate the fact that graphic health warnings on tobacco packs are effective in reducing tobacco use and save lives.

“We call on all agencies tasked with the enforcement of tobacco control laws to save Nigerians by beginning the enforcement of the graphic health warnings policy without delay on all tobacco products.

“We wish to strongly remind those agencies that the offices they hold are based on public trust and must be used in the health interest of all Nigerians.

“Another significant obstacle to tobacco control in Nigeria is the tobacco industry’s interference in policy-making processes,” Oluwafemi said.

He further noted that the current set of graphic warnings; an image showing mouth cancer caused by tobacco use, was approved by the Federal Ministry of Health with effect from June 2023.

“Curiously, the National Tobacco Control Act gives a moratorium of 150 days before enforcement, that moratorium period ended on Nov.

20, marking the start of enforcement of the new set of warnings.

The chairman said that this interference not only undermines the effectiveness of existing policies, but also hampers efforts to introduce more stringent regulations.

“To strengthen tobacco control in Nigeria, there is a crucial need to address these influences through transparent and accountable governance.

Mrs Hilda Ochefu, a representative of the Campaign for Tobacco for-free kids, decried the non implementation of tobacco control laws in the country.

She said that it is a wake up call for the federal government to ensure that all tobacco packs have the graphic health warnings for the second health rotation.

Ochefu urged all enforcement agencies to swing to action to save the lives of Nigerians.



Edited by Vincent Obi

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