The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the federal government to take bold steps in implementing the provisions of the 2015 National Tobacco Control (NTC) act.
At a press conference in Lagos on Monday, the group said since over two years that the bill was signed into law, not much has been done by the government to clamp down on violators.
It also said it expected the government to have commenced serious public education on the provisions.
The provisions include prohibition of the sale of tobacco to persons below 18, ban of sale of cigarettes in single sticks, prohibition of smoking in public places, prohibition of tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship of any kind, smokeless tobacco shall be sold in a minimum of a pack of 30 grams.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, the group’s deputy executive director, said unless the government took action, “we will be deceiving ourselves if we assume that the tobacco industry will fold its arms and watch this happen”.
Oluwafemi said the recent surge in the consumption of water-pipe tobacco, commonly referred to as shisha, is another cause for concern.
He noted that the “side effects of shisha just like cigarette, may not be immediately noticeable but with time, the toxic vapours slowly damage vital organs of the body of the smoker, culminating in illness and death.”
He said countries like Tanzania, Rwanda, and Kenya have banned shisha use in its bars, asking why Nigeria, the giant of Africa, cannot take a cue from these countries.
Asked what the group was doing to address the use of the entertainment industry to promote the use of tobacco and its related products, Oluwafemi said “We know that tobacco industries are deliberately using the industry to do under-hand marketing.”
“We are monitoring them very closely and we will continue to expose and educate them.