BY ONYEANUNA ONYEDIKACHI , Abuja
A new Nigeria research data has revealed how big tobacco companies violet legal framework which provides against advertising to young and vulnerable children.
The Nigerian Tobacco Control Research Group (NTCRG) and the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN), in collaboration with the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) at the public presentation of the study in Abuja said that the research shows how tobacco companies strategically situate tobacco products and advertisements near primary and secondary schools with the aim of enticing kids to experiment smoking.
The research work titled- “Big Tobacco: Tiny Targets Nigeria Report” exposes widespread sale of tobacco products along paths of primary and secondary schools in five states where there was also deliberate display of tobacco products next to sweets and drinks, making them easily accessible, and sales of single tobacco sticks at very affordable rates, among other tactics of getting children to smoke and ultimately addicted.
Specific examples from Lagos, Nasarawa, Enugu, Kaduna and Oyo are documented in the report, including visual evidences.
The report urges government to take action and made some specific recommendations including the need for urgent passage of the regulations guiding implementation of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 by the National Assembly; and Proactive prohibition of placement of tobacco products within 100m of any educational institution by the federal, state and local education authorities.
It demanded the enforcement of the comprehensive prohibition of Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) and the setting up of a Framework for monitoring the implementation of the ban on single sticks and cigarettes packs with less than 20 sticks as detailed in the NTC Act 2015.