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Report exposes how tobacco companies lure school children



A report has unveiled how tobacco companies entice Nigerian school children.Titled, ‘Big Tobacco Tiny Targets’, it samples 221 schools in cities like Ibadan, Kaduna, Enugu, Lafia and Lagos and concludes evidence shows a pattern in sale of tobacco products within 100 metres of school environments, linking the trend to leading tobacco firms in the country.

The report was released by Nigerian Tobacco Control Research Group (NTCRG) and Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoE) and presented at St John Church Hall, Yemetu, Ibadan, by lead researcher, Dr. Adebiyi Akindele, over the weekend.

It condemns systematic targeting of youths through visual appeal, stressing that the practice is a contravention of Article 16 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which prohibits the sale of tobacco products in any manner that makes them directly accessible to minors.

The report reads in part: “The delay in the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 with provisions banning the placement of tobacco products at educational establishments and access of youths to tobacco products is particularly worrisome and if this situation is not quickly checked, we may likely experience an increase in the number of tobacco users as predicted by the WHO.

“The enforcement of the comprehensive prohibition of tobacco advertising and sponsorship including point of sales and product display should be enhanced by the National Assembly, urgently approving regulations guiding the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015.

“The Federal Ministry of Health and the Federal Ministry of Education should work together to ban the location of point of sales of tobacco products within 100m of all schools. This should be enforced at state and local government levels by state Ministries of Education and local education authorities.”

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