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Industry interference major challenge to effective tobacco control, says CAPPA

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Tobacco


The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), at the weekend, declared that tobacco industry interference remains a major challenge to effective tobacco control in Nigeria and Africa.

It stated this in Lagos during the media presentation of its TakeApart Nigeria Report titled: The Big Tobacco Allies- How Tobacco Companies Use Intermediaries To Foster Their Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives And Promote Their Image In Nigeria.  

Director of Programnmes at CAPPA, Philip Jakpor, while explaining the method of carrying out the research, said the report, which documents several instances where tobacco multinationals use intermediaries to foster their efforts in undermining implementation of the World Heath Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), highlighted tobacco industry allies and exposed how companies use them to launder their image and grow their businesses.

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He said the report, which relied on surveys carried out by CAPPA across Nigeria in collaboration with the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA), further exposed how tobacco multinationals undertake partnership with the Nigerian government and how several entities organise events and implement programmes that promote tobacco industry initiatives.

He added that the report highlights how the use of intermediaries posed a threat to the advancement of tobacco control in Nigeria, as it facilitates interactions with public officials, enabling multinationals to access positive media reviews and further their interference in the public space.

Also, Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “Tobacco industry interference is a major challenge to effective tobacco control. The TakeApart Nigeria Report is a vital tool that will enable the Nigerian government and public health advocates identify and plug loopholes in the industry, its allies and front groups have exploited to interfere in public health policy.

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“We are handing the Nigerian government the resource necessary to end unnecessary interactions that the tobacco industry initiates.”It, therefore, recommended full implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA) 2015, the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 and stoppage of economic incentives and benefits to the industry.

It also sought prohibition of all interactions with the tobacco industry not related to policy implementation, policy for government agencies to fully disclose details of their meetings and interactions with the tobacco industry.

Other recommendations are, updating of information websites to ensure easy information dissemination that would guarantee transparency, sensitisation on the public health implications of interactions with the industry, as well as periodic declaration of no conflict of interest by stakeholders, who must interact with the industry.

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