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CSOs write Senate, seek passage of tobacco regulations

Forty-eight groups on the platform of the Africa Tobacco Control Civil Society Organisations have written to the Nigerian Senate asking it to adopt strong Tobacco Control Regulations to protect the present and future generation of Nigerians from the dire health and socio-economic consequences of tobacco use.

Dr Bukola Saraki
Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki

In a letter dated May 21, 2019, the groups said that the adoption of the Regulations is critical for effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015, provides Nigeria the unique opportunity to align with the requirements of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC), and demonstrates its global leadership in tobacco control.

The groups described the reality of the tobacco menace in the country, drawing attention to statistics that show that, in Nigeria, more than 5.6 million adults and 25,000 children use tobacco each day, leading to more than 16,100 deaths every year, which equates to 300 deaths every week.

They reminded the Senate that Nigeria ratified the WHO-FCTC in 2005 to control the growing epidemic of tobacco use but noted with dismay that the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 is still awaiting the adoption of the Regulations governing its implementation.

They also noted that they were aware that the tobacco industry will leave no stone unturned to dissuade the Senate from adopting the Regulations in order to continue benefitting from the legislative vacuum to market their deadly products in Nigeria.

Appealing to the Senators, they urged them “to resist the maneuvers f the tobacco industry and place the health and welfare of the Nigerian population above vested interests of the tobacco industry”

They pleaded with the Senate to approve the draft Regulations before the expiration of their session on June 6, 2019 pleading that they should not wait but approve strong tobacco control Regulations immediately.

The groups that signed the letter include Africa Tobacco Control Alliance, Africa Centre for Tobacco Industry Monitoring and Policy Research, Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Framework Convention Alliance (FCA), Observatoire du tabac en Afrique Francophone (OTAF), and Vision for Alternative Development (VALD).

Others are Health Healing Network Burundi, Coalition Camerounaise Contre le Tabac (C3T), Kenya Tobacco Control Alliance (KETCA), Consumer Information Network (CIN), and Mozambique Public Health Association, among others.

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