BY ONYEDIKACHI ONYEANUNA, Abuja
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has raised the alarm against tobacco companies in Nigeria over their aggressive marketing campaigns targeted at vulnerable kids and youth in schools across the country.
A recently-released five-country report on tobacco industry marketing of tobacco products near schools across Africa listed Nigeria among countries where this disturbing practice by the tobacco industry is prevalent.
Oluwafemi stated this yesterday in Abuja when a team of NYSC members and the Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) ) visited the Minister of Health, Prof Isaac Adewole after a rally and health talk/petitioning of Minister of Health by NYSC in partnership with Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA. He added that the ugly trend demands a speedy response. He called for a fast-tracking of effective regulations and implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act.
According to Akinbode Oluwafemi, the “youths have been the target of the secret smoking parties orchestrated by the British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) and other tobacco companies across the country to conscript first time smokers. At these illicit parties supposed role models are recruited to perform ‘all night’ while smoking tobacco products and have therefore made a strong statement against the trend.
He said that “the signing of the National Tobacco Control Act on May 25, 2015 provides the legal framework for the protection of present and future generations of Nigerians from the devastating health, social, economic and environmental consequences of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke.”
According to him, “This singular legislation gives effect to the obligation to protect citizens against tobacco-related harms in the promotion of health and other human rights as contained in the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) and other related treaties to which Nigeria is a Party.”
The World Health Organisation estimates that tobacco kills nearly six million people annually and if current trends continue, it will kill more than eight million people worldwide by 2030. A large chunk of these deaths will come from developing nations like Nigeria.
For NTCA, the federal government through the Federal Ministry of Health should extend support to the Ministry of Labour and Employment which is investigating the anti-labour practices at BATN factory in Ibadan, especially in relation to the health hazards that workers have been exposed to.
They also want the federal government to collaborate with the Commissioners of Health in all the 36 states in the enforcement of the nine provisions of the NTC Act that do not require regulations and fast-tracking of implementation guidelines and effective regulations for the implementation of the NTC Act so that it gets the National Assembly approval.
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) is the coalition of non-governmental and non-profit, research, advocacy, environmental and human rights organizations working to protect public health policies across the six geopolitical zones of Nigeria.