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Activists urge FG to ban e-cigarettes, shisha, others

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E-cigarettes. Photo/ Pixabay

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has charged the Federal Government to ban e-cigarettes, shisha, and other new products from the tobacco industry due to rising deaths attributable to vaping globally.

ERA/FoEN Head, Media, and Campaigns, Phillip Jakpor, described the situation as ‘horrific,’ warning that the Federal Government should not allow a disaster to visit the country before banning e-cigarettes and other products currently being sold in the open markets and through the Internet.

According to the non-governmental organisation, in the United States (U.S.) alone, as at Friday, October 11, 2019, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) documented 29 deaths attributable to vaping and the outbreak of mysterious lung illnesses that affected no fewer than 1,299 persons.

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It reported that those who died were between 17 and 75 years of age and that many of those who became ill had vaped tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or nicotine, or both.

THC is one of the over 113 cannabinoids identified in cannabis.

“In the United Kingdom (UK), a factory worker died of pneumonia caused by oil from an e-cigarette in his lungs. Similar incidences are being documented globally,” Jakpor added.

Speaking to The Guardian in Lagos on the “deadly products”, Deputy Executive Director of ERA/FoEN, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “Once again, we are vindicated on our aversion to so-called novel products that the tobacco merchants of death have been peddling as less-harmful, particularly in recent years.

“The Nigerian government must take the lead in Africa by banning e-cigarettes and other products now causing grievous harm to innocent and misled users.”

“We knew the tobacco industry was packaging death in novelty when they started talking about e-cigarettes and other lethal innovation. It is only unfortunate that the youth are the guinea pig in this game of profits for the industry. That is why Nigeria must not wait any longer.”

He, however, commended the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) for taking the lead in enforcing the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act and its regulations, urging the agency to extend its operations to online agencies that try to beat the law by marketing and even delivering shisha and e-cigarettes to consumers’ doorsteps.    

“The price of delay might be too dear for us all. It is time for the Federal Government to ban e-cigarettes and other deadly products that the tobacco industry has unleashed on the youths. Now is the time to act,” Oluwafemi insisted.

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