The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has warned Nigerians against smoking, saying it causes cancer.
NTCA chairman, Akinbode Oluwafemi, who gave the warning at a press briefing in Abuja, however, said that implementation of Graphic Health Warnings policy on tobacco products is an effective way to reduce tobacco use and it associated harms.
He said tobacco use has led to the death of more than eight million people each year and if the current trends continue, this number is expected to rise significantly in the coming years.
“this measure is contained in Article 11 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC), and in our local laws. Section 20 of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 (NTC Act)” and the first set of warning is a as result of a contrast image healthy lungs and diseased lungs of a smoker issued on the June 22, 2021 and expired on June 22, 2023 after a period of two years and that this Warnings have been approved by the Federal Ministry of Health showing a graphic image of a tobacco user with mouth cancer, with the text warning ‘smoking causes mouth cancer.
“The NTC Act requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors of tobacco products to ensure that their products carry full coloured graphic health warnings, covering 50% of the principal display area and as an alliance, NTCA alerted members in the Federal Capital Territory, as well as Ebonyi, Kano and Lagos states to monitor compliance with the second phase of the warnings. It has also been established that the warnings can reduce the economic burden of tobacco use,” he said.
Akinbode urged the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, and the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure the speedy implementation of graphic health warnings on all tobacco products.