Federal Govt Urged To Enforce Graphic Health Warnings On Tobacco Products
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has called on the government to intensify enforcement of the graphic health warnings policy on tobacco products.
The requirement to have graphic or pictorial health warnings on the packaging of tobacco products is prescribed by the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019 in line with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) recommendations.
These graphic images serve to expose tobacco by providing the public with visual representations of the dire health consequences that come with using tobacco products.
However, a recent survey by NTCA revealed that tobacco products like snuff and shisha, which have become notoriously popular among young people, have less than 10 per cent compliance level.
The chairman, NTCA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, who spoke at a press briefing yesterday in Abuja, said at present, the graphic health warnings policy requires all tobacco products to have the approved graphic images on at least 50 per cent of the products’ packaging.
Tobacco use accounts for over 28,000 deaths annually in the country, yet the industry is intensifying efforts to make tobacco appealing to Nigerians. “The industry continually tries to mask tobacco’s real identity as a disease-and-death-maker,” Akinbode said.
“We therefore call on the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Ministries of Health and Environment, the National Security and Civil Defence Corps and all agencies charged with monitoring and enforcing of the National Tobacco Control Act to wake up to their responsibilities.
“Enforcement agencies must particularly monitor and enforce the policy on all tobacco products, not only on cigarette packs,” he stressed.
Speaking on the need to take the health warnings policy to the hinterlands, Akinbode noted that policy implementation cannot continue to be centered in the Federal Capital Territory and Lagos.
“There is need to take enforcement of the graphic health warnings policy to Nigeria’s hinterlands to ensure compliance. We note that it is possible that non-compliant products may be moved far inland where enforcement is low or non-existent,” he added.
Culled from Leadership Newspaper