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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Adebamowo: Matters Arising On Tobacco Control Legislation

THE senate committee on health last week held the public hearing to repeal the tobacco control law of 1990 and to enact the National Tobacco control Bill 2012 to provide for the regulation, and control of production, manufacturing, sale, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco and cheapest cigarettes in Nigeria.

As we know, tobacco control is about reducing or completely eradicating, the effects of tobacco smoke on the consumer. The question, however is that, has the war on tobacco smoking control failed or worked? it is pertinent that all proponents for and against tobacco control policies should sit down and accurately evaluate if the tobacco control policies or the drive for its implementation in several countries globally failed or succeed.

Different schools of thought have begun to emerge to look critically at the push for several policies and the appropriate strategies which may be deemed effective for those whom the policies wish to affect. World Health Organisation (WHO) states that ‘the tobacco epidemic is one of the biggest public health threats the world has ever faced, killing nearly six million people a year.

 At the public hearing, it was expressly declared that the bill is not meant to ban tobacco, but to set up a legal framework that will allow for effective control of the tobacco industry. According to the chairman Senate committee on health and the sponsor of the bill, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa representing Delta North in the upper chamber of the National Assembly, there is the need to control the distribution and supply chain stakeholders.

“There is need to control the distribution and ensure that those in its supply chains are licensed in order to monitor their compliance to the regulatory framework. We are not out to ban tobacco or send people to the labour market. The industry operators only need to know that and comply with regulation, as it is not our intention to drive the operators away but put laws in place in order for them for them to operate in a responsible manner.” He stated

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