NGOs seek enforcement of graphic health warning on tobacco products

NGOs seek enforcement of graphic health warning on tobacco products

Some Non-Government Organisations, NGOs, have called on the Federal Government to intensify the implementation of graphic health warning on tobacco products.

The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA, and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids made the call on Tuesday at a news conference in Abuja.

The Chairman of NTCA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said that since the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations of 2019, tobacco companies only used graphic health warnings on cigarette products.

Mr Oluwafemi added that the companies did not put the warnings on other tobacco products such as snuff and shisha, which had become notoriously popular among young people.

According to him, many tobacco products in the markets carry blurry pictorial warnings, a ploy by the companies to reduce the shock value and weaken the effectiveness of graphic health warnings.

The NTCA chairman added that “it is estimated that over 28,000 people die in Nigeria annually due to tobacco use.

“However, the tobacco industry continues to downplay its role in the creation of the problem; the industry is intensifying efforts to make tobacco appealing to Nigerians.

“The industry continually tries to mask tobacco’s real identity as a disease-and-death-maker.”

According to him, the requirement to have graphic or pictorial health warning on the packaging of tobacco products
is contained in the National Tobacco Control Act 2015, and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019.

“This is also in line with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, WHO-FCTC, recommendations.

“The graphic warning images are to expose tobacco by providing the public with visual representations of the dire health consequences that come with using tobacco,’’ he said.

Mr Oluwafemi, therefore, urged enforcement agencies to monitor and enforce the policy on all tobacco products, not only on cigarette packs.

“We call on the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Ministries of Health and Environment, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps
and agencies charged with monitoring and enforcement of the National Tobacco Control Act to wake up to their responsibilities,’’ he said.

Hilda Ochefu, the Sub-Region for West Africa, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, called on Civil Society Organisations to
complement government’s policy on tobacco control to discourage usage.

Source: DailyNigeria