The New Life Community Care Initiative (NELCCI) has commended the Anambra State House of Assembly for enacting a law to regulate smoking in public places, saying there is need for law makers in Enugu State to enact a similar law.
Ikem Uzoezie of Aguata 2 state constituency in Anambra State presented the bill for a law on regulation of smoking in public places, which was read for the first time last week during plenary.
The bill, if passed into law, would curtail indiscriminate smoking of any kind in open places.
In a statement issued in Enugu, NELCCI Executive Director, Florence Ifeanyi-Aneke, said that the bold step taken by the lawmakers in Anambra is the first attempt to curtail the epidemic of tobacco in eastern Nigeria and should be replicated in Enugu and other eastern states.
Ifeanyi-Aneke said the importance of having such a law in Enugu is necessitated by a recent report by the Environmental Rights Action and Nigeria Tobacco Control Research Group (NTCRG) which listed Enugu among states targeted by tobacco companies to market tobacco to kids.
She explained, “Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets Nigeria Report noted that school age children are exposed to cigarettes sold side by side candies and of course, this is a ploy to lure them into procuring the colorful cigarettes after which they remain hooked for life.”
She cautioned that if laws are not put in place to check the trend, the next generation of tobacco addicts was already being groomed and would pose a threat to economic growth when they start coming down with tobacco-induced illnesses.
The activist also asked the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) and other relevant agencies of government to begin enforcing the nine provisions of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act which does not require any law to be operationalised.
The nine provisions include a ban selling of tobacco to persons below the age of 18 years, prohibition of sale of tobacco in certain public places and sale of cigarettes in single sticks, among others.