National Assembly approves National Tobacco Control Regulations

Gloria Essien,Abuja

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A National Tobacco Control Regulations has been approved by the Nigerian  National Assembly.

The approval of the regulations will make the 2015 National Tobacco Control Act operational, entailing stringent rules on tobacco sale, promotion and use nationwide.

It will also  serve as a legal framework for full and effective implementation of Tobacco Control in the country with the objective to  protect and promote  the health and well-being of the  Nigerian citizens.

The Permanent Secretary, of the Nigerian Ministry of Health , Mr. Abldullazi- Mashi Abdullahi  disclosed, at a press briefing to mark this year’s World No Tobacco Day in Abuja, Nigeria, with the theme, “Tobacco and Lung Health: Don’t let Tobacco Take your Breath away”, 

Mr Abdullahi reiterated that tobacco contains more than 7,000 chemicals, out of which 250 of which are harmful to the human body while 69 are known to cause cancer.

“In Nigeria, at least 16,100 Nigerians die of illnesses associated with Tobacco use and globally, at least 1,700,000 people die of lung cancer every year,” 

“As the National Tobacco Control Bill has been ratified, the Federal Ministry of Health 

is currently piloting Tobacco Control activities across the country and request members of the public to adhere to the new rules and regulations on Tobacco use: including the prohibition of advertising tobacco products and creation of smoking-free zones across the country,” He said.

Mr Abdullahi appreciated the World Health Organization (WHO) and other  partners for their consistent support and perseverance in the journey to Tobacco control in Nigeria and his parting words were adding that Every Nigerian should have the right to Tobacco free air”

In his remarks, the World Health Officer in Charge (OIC) in Nigera, Dr. Peter Clement  applauded the  Nigerian Government for being cooperative in creating and implementing policies to reduce the use of Tobacco across the country.

“I would like to congratulate the Government of Nigeria for being resilient in pushing policies to reduce tobacco use and the National Assembly for passing the National Tobacco Regulation.”He said

Dr. Cement pledged that WHO would continue to promote and strengthen awareness of the benefits of tobacco-free lifestyles and the cessation of tobacco use, saying that

“Tobacco has claimed the lives of thousands of both youth and adults and continues to pose serious health risks to persons exposed to tobacco smoke. I hereby call on all individuals, parents and children, as well as all community members, to protect their health and avoid the harms caused by tobacco. Let us promote non-smoking as a social norm and by ensuring smoke-free environments.”

One of the high points of the event was the recognition and presentation of ward by the WHO to one of Nigeria’s National Tobacco Control Advocates, Mr. Peter Unekwu-Ojo  the Executive Director of Cedars Refuge Foundation, a non-governmental initiative dedicated since 2011 to the fight against Tobacco production and consumption in Nigeria.

Ime Njoku