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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Environmentalists urge Jonathan to sign tobacco Bill

President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to sign the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) into law.
Speaking at the presentation of its Shadow Report on implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in Nigeria, the Environmental Rights Action (ERA)/ Friends of the Earth Nigeria (FoEN) yesterday in Lagos said the country stands to gain a lot from the domestication of the FCTC.
According to the group, since Nigeria ratified the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) FCTC in 2005, nothing significant has been achieved.
The group said Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora presented the National Tobacco Control Bill to the sixth National Assembly in 2008 as part of effort to domesticate its provisions, adding that till date, tobacco control in the country has left much to be desired.
ERA/ FoEN’s Director in charge of Corporate Accountability, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the passage of the NTCB will be the beginning of effective tobacco control legislation in the country.
"Nigeria will not make any progress towards the eradication of the tobacco epidemic and reduction of addiction without the signing into law, the NTCB," he said.
ERA’s Head, National Tobacco Control Campaign, Mr Seun Akioye, said the ban on outdoor/billboard advertising was obeyed by the tobacco industry, but that the ban on Point of Sale (POS) advertising has been ignored. He added that most of the stores and supermarkets advertise tobacco products while some expose cigarette shelves to young people and underage persons.
He said there were umbrellas, posters, kiosks and other means of outdoor advertising freely displayed.
Akioye said the prices of cigarette should be increased as well as the taxes on tobacco products effected to reduce the demand for tobacco. "During the Shadow Report, ERA/ FoEN wass able to establishe that the country is behind in implementing tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco. Also, the average price of a pack of cigarette is N300 while the average discounted price stands at N80," he said.