Some anti-tobacco organiations on Tuesday urged the Senate to expedite action on the passage of the Draft National Tobacco Control Regulations recently approved by the House of Representatives.
According to Oluwafemi, some of the provisions approved by the House of Representatives stipulates that all forms of tobacco products shall carry health warnings.
“They shall have stronger and better defined prohibited packaging. There shall be Principal Display Areas for all forms of tobacco products.
“Also 50 per cent Graphic Health Warning (GHW) on all tobacco products; to be automatically increased to 80 per cent after four years.
“There shall be comprehensive annual reporting system from Tobacco Industry to Federal Ministry of Health,” Oluwafemi said.
Oluwafemi said that the provisions also stipulated that there shall be increased smoke-free areas.
“It also included more enforcement officers with community level presence and annual licensing per variant for manufacturers and importers, and annual license for distributors.
“And there shall be stronger penalties for defaulters,” Oluwafemi said.
Also, the Programme Coordinator of NTCA, Mr Oluwaseun Esan, urged the Senate not to water the regulations down.
“Nigerians do not want weak regulation that detracts from the crucial recommendations of the World Health Organisation – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) which Nigeria is signatory to.
“We demand that the Senate concurs the draft regulations approved by the House of Representatives and approve it as a lasting health legacy of the Eighth National Assembly,” Esan said.
According to him, there are no better words that capture the moment as what the Minister of State for Health, Prof. Osagie Ehanire said at the recent interactive session on the regulations at the House of Representatives.
Quoting Ehanire, “it is clearly better and cheaper to prevent tobacco-linked diseases than to cure them,” Esan said.
He said that if the Senate approved the regulations before its tenure elapses on June 6, it would serve as a lasting public health legacy.
“This is what Nigerians want, this is what Nigerians deserve.
“At this crucial stage, we will monitor every step in the regulation process to ensure that what was approved on the floor of the House is what is reflected in the final outcome,” Esan said.