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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

ERA flays BAT’s smoking party

THE decision of the British America Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) to carry on with secret smoking parties where underage persons are conscripted into smoking is not only offensive but a strategy aimed at getting more girls into the smoking habit, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has said.
ERA/FoEN, in reaction to a smoking party organised by BAT as part of its “Bursting with Flavour” promotion of the Pall Mall brand in Lagos, said the event was “a shameless disregard for public health and lack of respect to the laws of the country”.
According to a statement made available to the Nigerian Compass, ERA noted that in the last two years, BAT had staged the smoking parties in Sokoto, Kano, Ilorin, Akure, Abeokuta, Ibadan and other parts of the country.
The latest party was held last Saturday at the Abayomi Awodiora Hall, Cardoso Street, Ajegunle, Lagos.
While denouncing the act, the organisation said the event was criminal, and that the company as a corporation had been bent on ruining the lives of young Nigerians who are the major targets of the smoking parties.
“It is incredible that even with the growing number of Nigerians dying from tobacco-related illnesses and confirmed studies that tobacco use worsens poverty, the only fitting contribution of BAT to Ajegunle is a product that will gradually kill off its army of youths,” said ERA/FoEN Director, Corporate Accountability Campaigns, Akinbode Oluwafemi.
Oluwafemi said it was extremely disappointing that Terry G, a notable hip-hop artist and supposed youth role model who should be an ambassador of change in Ajegunle, performed live at the event, which started 10p.m. and ended 4a.m. the following day.