By Muhammad Auwal
The Nigeria Federal Government has restated its commitment to reduce the use of Tobacco in the country.
Head of Tobacco Control Unit at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr Mangai Malau restated the government‘s commitment in Abuja at the presentation of ‘Tobacco Vs the People Survey Report.’
Represented by Senior Scientific Officer, Tobacco Control Unit at the ministry, Mr Abraham Emmanuel, he stressed the need to create more awareness on the dangers of tobacco smoking.
He said government had reviewed the standard for cigarettes to include the complete ban on cigarettes with characterising flavour, including menthol.
Also, Mr Izang Lawrence, a member of Tobacco-Free Club, UniAbuja chapter (TFC), a Non-Governmental Organisation, said that the aim of the survey was to ascertain the level of damage tobacco posed to the country.
Lawrence said that one of the key findings of the survey was that one in every four vendors sold cigarettes and tobacco to people under the age of 18 in Nigeria.
He also said that the survey found that majority of the vendors supported the ban of cigarettes and tobacco sales to minors.
Lawrence added that nearly half of the vendors were unaware of the law banning the sale of tobacco to minors.
He also said that some of the vendors were also unaware of the law banning sale of single stick of cigarette and sold the products in single sticks.
Lawrence therefore called for stiffer laws to prohibit the sale of tobacco to minors and smoking in public places.
“We want the prohibition of the sale of tobacco products to and by anyone below age 18 and ban of sale of cigarettes in single sticks. Prohibition of smoking anywhere on the premises of a child care facility, educational facility and health facility; and other prohibited area for smoking include playground, amusement parks and other public spaces.
“We also want prohibition of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of any kind,” he said.
Mr Lawrence further explained that cancer was common in people who smoked cigarettes because tobacco smoking posed a risk of 2.5 per cent compared to the other risk factors.
“The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that tobacco use is currently responsible for the death of about six million people annually across the world with 80 per cent of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries such as Nigeria.
“This includes about 600,000 people who are also estimated to die from the effects of second-hand smoking,” he said.