Reps move to check smoking, use of tobacco products
By Adamu Abuh, Abuja, 05 April 2019
The House of Representatives is to approve the draft National Tobacco Control Regulations (NTCR) before June this year.
Speaker Yakubu Dogara gave the assurance yesterday during an interactive session with stakeholders organised by the Simon Arabo-led committee on delegated legislation on the tobacco control regulation in Abuja.
Represented by the Deputy Whip, Pally Iriase, he noted that the chamber was not unmindful of the hazardous effect of consumption of tobacco products by Nigerians.
He assured that the House was committed to the well-being of Nigerians.
The Minister of State for Health, Dr. Osagie Ehanire, committed to a virile NTCR that engenders full implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act for the health and well-being of the citizenry.
The minister, who reeled out the regulatory measures already sanctioned by the Federal Executive Council (FEC), disclosed that over 20 billion sticks of cigarettes are consumed yearly, adding that 5.6 per cent of adults (4.5 million) currently use tobacco products.
His words: “It is clearly better and cheaper to prevent those tobacco-linked diseases mentioned earlier, than to cure them, because of the saying, “health is wealth and life is precious.”
Ehanire’s position was endorsed by several organisations, including the Consumer Protection Council (CPC), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) as well as the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and the Nigeria Police force (NPF) and the Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN).
ERA/FoEN’s Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, regretted Nigeria was lagging behind in enacting policies to check use of tobacco products.