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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Two years after, Senate passes Tobacco Control Bill

The Senate yesterday banned tobacco adverts and smoking in public places as it passed the National Tobacco Control Bill.

It passed the bill about 25months after its presentation.

The bill, sponsored by  Senator Olorunimbe Mamora, representing Lagos East Senatorial District, domesticates the World Health Organisation (WHO) initiated Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), a global treaty for tobacco control, which the country ratified some years ago.

Major highlights of the bill include:  ban on tobacco advertisement, sponsorship and promotions, ban on selling cigarettes to persons under 18, ban on smoking of tobacco products in public places which include airports, schools and public buildings, warning messages on tobacco packs and regulations on manufacturing, distribution and marketing of tobacco products in Nigeria.

The Bill repeals the Tobacco Control Smoking Act of 1990, which was promulgated under the military and championed by former Health Minister, the late Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti. 

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) praised the Senate for the passage, saying the Upper Chamber has delivered a major public health tool that will save the lives of millions of Nigerians from tobacco-induced deaths.