The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has said that an estimated 28, 000 people die in Nigeria annually, due to tobacco use, while warning that compliance of regulations on other substances that contain tobacco like Shisha and snuff is at an all-time low.
Speaking at a press conference in Abuja on Tuesday, November 8, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Chairman, of NTCA, said recent survey showed an increase in the compliance level on cigarette packs, but a reduction in compliance level of snuff and shisha.
As an Alliance, we have continued to work to strengthen the gains made so far on the policy. Therefore, as recently as October 2022, we commissioned a survey to ascertain the compliance level of the policy on all tobacco products in the country. The survey was carried out in Ekiti, Adamawa, Cross River, Abia, Abuja, and Kano.”
“When results from this survey were compared with results from a similar survey we conducted in 2021, the results showed a significant increase in the compliance level on cigarette packs, with an estimated 90% compliance.” “However, it is deeply concerning to find out that other tobacco products such as snuff and shisha (which has become notoriously popular among young people) have no graphic health warnings and still carry the outdated text warnings. The compliance level of this group of tobacco products is estimated to be below 10%”, he said.
“We, therefore, call on the Nigeria Police Force, Federal Ministries of Health and Environment, the National Security and Civil Defense 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.” “Also, policy implementation cannot continue to be centered in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, and Lagos. A good policy is not only good for urban centres. 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 said.