Group seeks proper enforcement of tobacco control laws
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance has called on the Standards Organisations of Nigeria, the Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Police Force, and Federal Competition and Consumer Protection, among others, to immediately commence the enforcement of the graphic health warnings policy on tobacco products.
The group said the Federal Ministry of Health had approved a graphic health warning of an image showing mouth cancer caused by tobacco use to appear on the cartons of every product.
The directive, the group noted, came into effect in June 2023.
However, addressing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the chairman of the group, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the market survey they carried out revealed that many tobacco industries had yet to comply with the updated graphic health images on the cartons of the products.
Oluwafemi said, “To monitor compliance with this critical policy, as recently as this week, we activated Alliance members in the Federal Capital Territory, also, in Ebonyi, Akwa Ibom, Nasarawa, Kano, Adamawa, and Oyo states, to carry out market surveys to determine the level of compliance within their states.
“The survey results show that while some cigarette packs bear the new sets of warnings, some still carry the outdated pictorial warning, and worse still, a sizeable number of packs bear the very old ‘text-only’ warnings.
“The survey also revealed that compliance with other tobacco products such as shisha, cigars, snuff, and cigarillos is almost nonexistent.”tobacco products such as shisha, cigars, snuff, and cigarillos is almost nonexistent.
“We call on Standards Organisations of Nigeria, Federal Ministry of Health, the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp, and all agencies tasked with enforcement of tobacco control laws to save Nigerians by beginning the enforcement of the graphic health warnings policy without delay on all tobacco products.”