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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Environmentalists urge Reps to pass Tobacco Control Bill today

•Mark World No Tobacco Day
The Environmental Rights Action (ERA) yesterday urged the House Representatives to pass the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) today.
Its Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the House of Representatives would make history by passing the bill on the day the world is making the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).
He said the passage and assent of the bill would discourage tobacco use, a habit responsible for half of the death of its users worldwide.
He spoke to reporters yesterday during the organisation’s World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) programme in Lagos. The theme of today’s World No Tobacco Day is the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Oluwafemi said the House of Representatives passed a Tobacco Control Bill in 2008, sponsored by Hon Friday Itular and Bassey Etim, adding that the Bill did not address the critical issues of tobacco use.
Tobacco use needs to be controlled because it is a public health concern, he added.
Oluwafemi said failure by the House of Representatives to pass the Bill would amount to wastage of taxpayers’ money, because the incoming lawmakers would have to commence the process from start.
"If they don’t pass the Bill before the end of their tenure, they would have to start the process of the passage from scratch which has economic effect on the country," he said.
Oluwafemi said the Bill conforms to the WHO/FCTC, adding that tobacco currently kills about six million people annually. "It is projected that it will kill 10 million people by 2030," he said.
He added: "The Bill from the Senate has passed first reading in the House. Let me on behalf of tobacco control groups in Nigeria salute the zeal and enthusiasm already shown by the sponsors of the bill and the House. This has given us the hope that the House will once again rise up to this challenge and concurs to the bill from the Senate.
"It is also noteworthy to mention that all the provisions raised in the bill by Hon Itular and Etim have also been comprehensively addressed by the bill from the Senate in order to ensure that it conforms with the standards recommended by the FCTC
"The bill has taken into cognisance every aspect of tobacco control and devised ways to protect our people from the dangers associated with smoking."