CISLAC engages stakeholders on tobacco control in Gombe

CISLAC engages stakeholders on tobacco control in Gombe

The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) has taken its national campaign and advocacy on tobacco control to Gombe state, thereby calling on the state government to develop policies and legislative frameworks to control tobacco use in the state.

According to CISLAC tobacco prevalence has been on the increase in Nigeria and other African countries, hence the need to develop means of curbing the menace. Speaking at a stakeholders’ meeting on Tobacco Taxation and Resource Mobilization in Gombe, the Program Officer of Democratic Governance at CISLAC Solomon Adoga explained that lives were being lost due to tobacco consumption and that it has become a public health issue.

He said, “as a public health concern it affects everybody, not just the users, there are people who are exposed through second-hand and third-hand smoke. Tobacco consumption creates environmental issues, creates health issues so it has become very important for governments at the national and state level to ensure that measures are put in place to curb the menace of these products.

Solomon added that some of the identified measures of tobacco control are tax-related and that it drives two benefits for states and the country, first, we described it as a win, win situation in terms of revenue generation for the state while on the other hand, it reduces demand for tobacco products”.

“Health financing is at the downward level because resources are dwindling for governments at the national and subnational level, so we are bringing this message to see that there are creative ways that we can use to mobilize revenue for the government to fund health and other important critical sectors while also controlling tobacco use,” Solomon said.

Also speaking the Executive Director of CISLAC, Auwal Ibrahim Musa (Rafsanjani) stated that the campaign and discussion of the control of tobacco products have been on since 2015 in Nigeria and that it was aimed at ensuring that the country comes up with policy and legislative framework to control the tobacco use.

“We felt that at the subnational level, these issues are not being discussed as it should, so we are now moving across states to ensure that policies and legislative frameworks are put in place at the subnational level to complement what the federal government has already done in ensuring that the 2015 Tobacco Control Act was in place,” Rafsanjani who was represented by Mohammed Murtala said.

He added saying, “Our major objective of organizing the meeting in Gombe is to improve the capacity of the stakeholders to understand the issues around tobacco use in the country and to encourage them to come up with sound policy and legislative framework so that tobacco use can be controlled in the state”.

“We are not calling for the outright ban because tobacco products are actually legitimate products, but based on the economic and health effects it has on the livelihood of individuals we are calling on the state government to ensure that policies and legislative framework controlling tobacco use are in place in the state,” he said.

Speaking on behalf of the state government, the deputy director of monitoring and evaluation at the state budget, planning and development partners coordination office, Ruth Edward Baka assured that the advocacy was timely and would be properly channeled to drive benefits for the state.

She said, “from what we have learned the issue of tobacco control will help improve the revenue of the state and also reduce the consumption rate of the product. It is very a good imitative, we are going to report the goodwill of the initiative back to the permanent secretary and the ministry”.

Source: Dmart preneur