Government to begin enforcement of tobacco control laws
• To ban sale of cigarettes to persons under 18 years
• WHO, NHF seek tougher measures against use
As the world marks World Tobacco Day, the Federal Government has announced plans to begin the immediate enforcement of key sections of the 2015 National Tobacco Control Act (NTC).
The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole disclosed this yesterday in Abuja at a press briefing to mark the day. He explained that evidence from World Health Organisation (WHO) has shown that tobacco use costs national economies immensely, through increased health-care and decreased productivity.
He added that tobacco has also worsened health inequalities and increase poverty, making the poorest people to spend less on essential goods such as food, education and health care.
Adewole said government would include the prohibition of sale of tobacco products to anyone below the age of 18 years. He disclosed other control measures to include a ban on sale or offer for sale or distribution of tobacco or tobacco products through mail, internet or other online devices.
According to the minister, there would also be a ban on the sale of cigarettes in single sticks, as they must be sold in packs of 20 sticks only. Also, smokeless tobacco shall be sold in a minimum of a pack of 30 grams.
He said: “Increasing taxes and levies on tobacco products could reduce its consumption and also generate revenue to finance universal health coverage and other developmental health programme.”
The minister revealed that the health ministry, in partnership with Washington DC-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, would in June 2017 launch a 6-months behavioural change campaign.
The WHO country representative, Wondi Alemu, noted that tobacco use is one of the leading predisposing factors for non-communicable diseases in the country.
Meanwhile, the WHO’s Director General, Dr Margaret Chan and the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) have canvassed tougher measures against the use of tobacco. They made the call to mark the day.