Saturday, April 12, 2014

Lets Make The Change Together

As we approach 2015 with the end of the seventh session of Nigeria’s National Assembly in sight, the country lies at a unique crossroad facing a critical moment. A number of draft bills are undergoing deliberations & discussions that would hopefully be completed before the end of this session.
One of these bills at the verge of being passed into law is the National Tobacco Control Bill: a groundbreaking measure that could save the lives of millions of young Nigerians most especially children and pregnant women, over the coming decades from tobacco-related disease and death.
The bill, currently awaiting passage by the Senate and House of Assembly, contains critical provisions including smoke-free public spaces, graphic health warnings and a ban on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. Nigeria once again has the opportunity to show in clear terms the health & wellbeing of her people is paramount. It’s time for Nigerian policymakers to re-evaluate their priorities and match their words with action as duly elected representatives of all Nigerians. For the swift passage of Nigeria’s National Tobacco Control Bill will demonstrate Nigerian policymakers are truly committed to saving lives and representing the interests of the public.
If passed, Nigeria’s National Tobacco Control Bill would protect millions of young Nigerians from the devastating fate a lifestyle of smoking and/or exposure to cigarette fumes will have on their health. Its provisions contain proven measures that will bring Nigeria in line with many of its international obligations under the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, also known as the global tobacco treaty, which has the potential to save 200 million lives when fully implemented. With these figures, the need for the TC bill is reinforced and we hope that our lawmakers would expedite the bill-making process securing passage of the bill seeing the effect it will have to the general public who are their constituents.
It is time for us as a Nation to stand our ground on this issue, we must put heads together towards ensuring that the lawmakers does what is right, even if it’s not for us right now, but for our unborn children, we must ensure that Nigeria is the cleanest and safest place to live in.
The House of Representatives will announce shortly the date for a public hearing on the draft Tobacco Control bill before it. We will be publishing WIDELY the full details of the hearing when released and urge you to PARTICIPATE in this by marking the date in your calendar and planning to attend so YOUR VOICE is added to the swelling number of citizens calling for a TC bill NOW. Please share the date with your friend & family too so they can LEND their VOICE as well.
Join Fela Durotoye and Stella Damasus to share information on Tobacco Control to ensure a comprehensive Tobacco control law is passed and signed into law by signing up to become a cause champion. Together we can protect the present and future generations from this preventable death now.
To become a cause champion, Simply sign up by sending your 1) Name 2) Email 3) Telephone No and 4) your location

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

Current Happenings on the Tobacco Control Bill

A major deficit to the regulation of tobacco in Nigeria is the inefficiency or lack of legislation. Different bills have been raised in both the Senate and the House of Representatives but unfortunately, they have not been successfully passed into law. There are currently two tobacco bills waiting to be enacted; a 2012 bill sponsored in the Senate by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and a more recent 2013 bill raised in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Hon. Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu.

However, at the 6th session of the National Assembly which lasted between 2007 to 2011, the National Tobacco Control Bill, was formally presented & finally approved by the Senate for passage at its seating on Tuesday March 15th 2011. This happened twenty five (25) months after its initial presentation to the Senate and was a monumental victory for Nigerians, both young and old, especially minors, public health, tobacco control in Nigeria and for the Coalition Against Tobacco (CAT), which was instrumental to the initiation, creation, drafting, lobbying and followed through this bill from the various plenary sessions debating the bill to the public hearing and eventual approval for passage by both the upper & lower chambers of the National Assembly (NA).

CAT’s January 2008 Abuja inauguration, served as the platform for Dr. Aliyu Modibbo Umar (then Minister of the FCT) to announce the declaration making the FCT smoke-free, effective June 2008.  He at the event also sought the support and cooperation of the legislative arm of government, which was represented at the event by Senator Mamora (Sponsor of the tobacco bill and current Deputy Chief whip of the Senate) to enact and push for an effective bill regulating the tobacco industry’s’ excesses. Senator Mamora gave his assurances for the expedient passage of the bill, which we are today celebrating. The Bill’s essential components include:
  • A  National Tobacco Control (TC) Committee to guide implementation and future TC policies;
  • A comprehensive ban of smoking in public places;
  • Clearly visible tax stamps on cigarette packs;
  • A ban on sales to minors and by minors;
  • Prohibition of the sale of cigarettes that are not packaged – but the bill doesn’t specify the number per pack;
  • A comprehensive ban on advertising, sponsorship and promotion, including by mail, testimonials, brand stretching, indirect advertising, etc;
  • Health warnings covering 50 percent of the display area of tobacco packages, with the Minister of Health empowered to prescribe pictures or pictogram;
  • Enforcement provisions to ensure that the law is effectively implemented.
Unfortunately the journey was truncated, as our bill-making process requires action both from the National Assembly (NA) first in discussing and passing a bill. And thereafter, the executive arm of government i.e. the President fulfills its part by giving assent to the bill passed by the NA for such to become law in the land. Because we did not cross these two hurdles back in 2011, we are at the starting blocks AGAIN on a journey to a tobacco control bill before the current NA session ends in 2015.

Knowing previous work that has gone into this without crossing the finishing line and sustained efforts since 2012, this time, the goal is to ensure BOTH legislative & executive arms of government do their part and fulfill their given roles as custodians of the people's mandate who work for a safe environment for all Nigerians.

Therefore, we are mobilizing efforts and intensifying our drive in the attainment of a smoke-free Nigeria NOW. Towards the end of April 2014, the House of Representatives will call for a public hearing to discuss the current bill before it and we URGE you to ATTEND as well as PARTICIPATE in these process by giving feedback directly to your representative and/or also lending your VOICE as YOU join us in the TC RADIO CAMPAIGN and INVITE your FRIENDS & FAMILY to do the same by subscribing via sms. Text (TC Name Email Location Message) to 39405 as together we can make the change we desire.

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter  and tweet at us using the #TCRadio hashtag
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• For more facts and Tobacco Control tips please visit

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Do something!!!

I finished my youth service a few years ago and it has been difficult getting a job. Out of frustration and tiredness of staying at home, I took up a job as a bar attendant at a local hotel. However, since I started work, it’s been hell for me as I end up inhaling cigarette smoke every day since customers are permitted to smoke indoors. Well, I have always done my best to ignore it and say nothing about it because I work at night and I am there alone with just one other person.

It has gotten to the point now, that the employees that work the shift before I do smoke right before I get there. I have frequent migraines and sinus issues from all of the residue that has been left behind from them smoking and often times some residual smoke from them smoking.

There is a window right in that section and I have asked them repeatedly to please not smoke an hour before I am going to get there and to please leave the window open when they do smoke and to open the window up and air out the corner before I get there. Seems like a simple enough request but they simply will not do it.

Now I am experiencing numerous health consequences of breathing second hand smoke, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, increased asthma, bronchitis, larengal-pharengeal reflux and reactive airway. Not to mention the fact that the place just plain reeks! I am outraged that by virtue of earning a living I am forced to breath "class A" carcinogenic air. I have pleaded with the corporate office, provided them overwhelming evidence that my work environment is not safe and they have turned a blind eye. Leaving this job will mean me going back to being broke, bored and frustrated, I do hope that I get something else real fast.

Andy's (not his real name) story above is a picture of what the workplace can be like Abuja where he is based. As deploring as his story may be, the more shocking fact is that this is a preventable cause. Things do not have to get to a dilapidated stage before we do something about it. I therefore appeal to the general public to join in this campaign to ban smoking in Nigeria. With the Lagos State government recently passing a no-smoking in public places law, it is time for the rest of the states to follow suit. 

Together we can make impact in our generation and save more lives, All you need do is to PARTICIPATE in the TC RADIO CAMPAIGN and INVITE your FRIENDS & FAMILY to do the same as we all join hands in stopping this dilemma before it's too late. To subscribe: Text (TC Name Email Location Message) to 39405 as together we can make the change we desire. You will be shocked how many lives you can save just from this singular act.

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter  and tweet at us using #TCRadio
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· For more facts and Tobacco Control tips visit

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Don't wait

I grew up in a house of three kids and two smoking parents (chain smokers if I say so). My father smoked two packs a day and my mother smoked one pack a day. I am currently 39 years old and my mother recently passed away at 67 after a long battle with breast cancer, I am yet to recover from this massive loss. She also had thyroid cancer. 

There had been absolutely NO history of breast cancer on her side of the family until she contracted the disease in her fifties, had surgery and chemo, went into remission, and then was rediagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in her liver. My sister, at age 37, was diagnosed with breast cancer the October before my mother's recurrence. She became metastatic within a year and is now 41 years old with three children. 

As a result, I have had a preventative double mastectomy and I believe all of this loss in my immediate family is due to smoking exposure. There is some history on my father's side, however, it does not explain my mother's aggressive disease and premature death. 

As it stands, I will go through the horrific events cancer brings again (this time with my sister) and will be the only female left in my immediate family. My father, at age 75, and my brother, at age 36, and myself will be left without two fabulous women in our lives. I believe smoking and the tobacco industry either created the cancer outright or aggravated a gene in our family as research has suggested.

Without tobacco, my family would have much more time with my sister and my mother. My children would have gotten to know their grandmother better and wouldn't cry and wouldn't have to talk about missing her. I wouldn't have to worry about my sister's kids and neither would she. Please help stop the tobacco industry from destroying families.

More than 8 million lives has been saved since the anti-smoking campaign started in 1964 in US, not counting the effect it has had in other countries; now this is a huge number, although the number of smokers recorded nationwide especially in Bangladesh, Russia, Indonesia and China rose to 1billion, it could have been double this number if the anti-smoking campaign dint take place. 

In as much as these figures are encouraging, it is also not the time to relax and fold our hands, more work needs to be done to ensure that more lives are saved. We therefore need your contribution towards ensuring that the increasing rate of death caused by this preventable cause is brought to a halt.

All you need do is to PARTICIPATE in the TC RADIO CAMPAIGN and INVITE your FRIENDS & FAMILY to do the same as we all join hands in stopping this dilemma before it's too late. To subscribe: Text (TC Name Email Location Message) to 39405 as together we can make the change we desire.

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter  and tweet at us using the #TCRadio hashtag

- Like us on Facebook: 

· For more facts and Tobacco Control tips visit

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PARTICIPATE: Tobacco Control Radio Campaign

Until late in the 20th century, tobacco companies consistently denied any link of their products with cancer or cancer-enhancing tendencies. However, today, the harmful effect of tobacco on smokers and non-smokers alike is well-known with detailed documentation on the impact of secondhand smoke since the 1980's.

Into these category of non-smokers falls a group of people who need SOMEONE to speak for them - CHILDREN as statistics say secondhand smoke causes about 3,000 deaths from lung cancer and tens of thousands of deaths from heart disease to nonsmoking adults in Nigeria each year.

Millions of children are breathing in secondhand smoke almost daily in the one place they should be safe - their homes. The reason for these is adults & in some cases underaged smokers who puff away not heeding the harm being done to our nation's future leaders. Secondhand smoke can be especially harmful to your children's health because their lungs still are developing. If you and anyone who know & permit smokes around your children, they are exposed to secondhand smoke and may be in more danger than you realize. Children whose parents smoke only outside are still exposed to the chemicals in secondhand smoke.

Below is a true life story of the effect secondhand smoke can have on a child;

My ex-husband and I divorced when our son was 1 year old. At that time, smoking was not allowed in our home and my son's health was fine. Once we divorced, his father resumed smoking and that's when the trouble with my son's ears started. My son is 3 years old now and on his second set of ear tubes and has had his annoides removed. My son gets sick whenever he goes to his dad's- he always comes back with ear infections. (Besides his dad who smokes, there are also 3 other people living in the home who smoke too) My son has mild hearing loss in the left ear. I know it is the smoking. The solid proof that proved it, was this past October. Oct. 23 my son had a hearing test and the tubes were open and clear, then on November 2nd he went to his dad's for a week. On Nov. 13 was his next hearing test and it came back saying that both ears were flat and his next test said he had fluid in his ears again.

Because young children can't choose to leave a smoke-filled environment, this constant exposure makes them especially vulnerable to the health risks of secondhand smoke. Infants and children who are regularly exposed to secondhand smoke have an increased chance of developing the following conditions:
  • Frequent colds and respiratory infections (including bronchitis and pneumonia)
  • May experience slow or incomplete lung growth and development
  • Asthma and chronic coughs
  • Chronic and/or recurrent ear infections
  • SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome)
  • High blood pressure
  • Learning and behavior problems, including inattention and aggression.
  • Cataracts
  • Poor dental health
  • Increased likelihood that the children themselves will become smokers
As adults today, it is OUR RESPONSIBILITY to ensure a smoke-free environment is a LEGACY we bequeath to our children. This is why we ask YOU to participate in the TC RADIO CAMPAIGN and INVITE your FRIENDS & FAMILY to do the same as we all join hands in stopping this dilemma before it's too late. To subscribe: Text (TC Name Email Location Message) to 39405 as together we can make the change we desire.

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter  and tweet at us using the #TCRadio hashtag

- Like us on Facebook: 

· For more facts and Tobacco Control tips visit

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

No More!

On 26 December 2003 my dad passed away due to a 13 year battle with COPD/Emphysema. My dad had smoked since he had been a young boy, but quit immediately when he was diagnosed with COPD. Unfortunately it was too late and his lungs were already damaged. I grew up breathing in secondhand smoke, but at the time, there was not information out discussing the dangers of secondhand smoke.

I am in my mid 40's. Everyone smoked either cigarettes, cigars or pipes when I was young. My dad smoked pipes and cigars all day long, inside and outdoors. One was burning all the time even when he wasn't puffing on it. Our house smelled like smoke - and our car smelled like smoke. People's clothes smelled like smoke - even the ones who didn't smoke smelled like smoke. People smoked at work and in restaurants and in the waiting rooms of almost everywhere. So it was normal to smell smoke. We thought nothing of it. I even sang along with them on this popular song:


And it still didn't dawn on us what we were doing. Smoking was thought to be glamorous for women and masculine for men because of the movies and the advertising. All my older siblings smoked. 

What happened to everyone? My mother died of lung cancer (though she never smoked anything but due to the inhaling of cigarette from everyone’s smoking.) My brother died of a heart attack. My sister died of lung disease. My last sister has emphysema & is on oxygen but wasting away - now weighs 65 pounds.

I would have to say smoking leads to nothing constructive for anyone except for a pain relief puff on a marajuana when dying of cancer. My dying sister told me the other day that smoking is the worst possible addiction anyone could imagine. She says you are hooked almost instantly and no rational discussion could make you quit. She only quit when she couldn't breathe. But she said she knows of lots of people who can't even quit when the doctor puts them on oxygen.

There is no rational reason to allow smoking where anyone other than smokers will breathe that smoke. It is horrible. I have been with 2 of my relatives as they have died of lung disease and it is a miserable way to go.

I implore you to participate and subscribe to Tobaccoctrl SMS platform and also participate actively in the radio campaign, don’t forget to invite your friends and family. To subscribe;
Text (TC Name Email Location Message) to 39405. Together we can make the change we desire.
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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

The Nigerian Situation

Despite worldwide concerted efforts by governments and other Non-State Actors, Nigeria remains amongst the community of nations that have expressed concerns but done little to tackle or curb the blooming epidemic of smoking. In Nigeria, the indulgent attitude of individuals that smoke coupled with their ignorance of the potential dangers has not helped situation. Most people smoke not knowing the implications of what they are doing to their health and others around. This is not peculiar to just males, but females as well. 

There was a time when it was a taboo for females to hold cigarette not to talk of smoking them, but this days its becoming the norm with female actresses smoking in our home videos thus glamorizing the habit and encouraging more females to smoke. This is an antisocial act that calls for urgent action as it negates the efforts of the governments and concerned peoples of Nigeria to nip smoking in the bud.

Smoking, a habit, which at one time was considered fashionable and acceptable has been proven after many years of study to have linkages with many ailments hence it is as deadly as the scorpion sting. Smoking is a universal problem, which though may have peculiar geographical approaches in terms of solutions, yet remains one with the need for a collective global resolve in tackling. To date, no nation has ever admitted benefiting economically from smoking and we see numerous efforts made by nations across the globe to deal with this man-made monster.

The United States Centre for Disease Control and Prevention describes tobacco use as "the single most important preventable risk to human health in developed countries and an important cause of premature death worldwide".

For Nigeria, the implication of unrestricted smoking environment is ominous as tobacco-related ailments take about 20 years to manifest. Thus the government should anticipate a huge epidemic of tobacco-related diseases in the coming years. The resultant strain on public healthcare would be enormous as the majority of these smokers are poor people who have no means to access treatment themselves. They will depend on the government to bear the cost. The most effective way to curb this epidemic is to totally ban it in all states of the federation.

To further reinforce this view, let us consider the following facts about smoking:

From the GAT Survey, Tobacco Use In 2012 saw 5.6% (4.7 million) Nigerian adults aged 15 years or older use tobacco products with a breakdown of 10.0% (4.2 million) of men and 1.1% (0.5 million) of women. Overall, 3.9% (3.1 million) of adults (7.3% of men and 0.4% of women) currently smoked tobacco, and 3.7% (3.1 million) of adults (7.2% of men and 0.3% of women) currently smoked cigarettes.

2.9% of adults (2.4 million) were daily smokers (5.6% of men, 0.3% of women) while 0.9% (0.8 million) were occasional smokers (1.8% of men and 0.1% of women). Daily cigarette smokers smoked an average of 8 cigarettes per day; 7 cigarettes per day in urban areas and 9 cigarettes per day in rural areas.

More than 60% of 20 to 34 year old males who had ever smoked on a daily basis started smoking daily before the age of 20 years. More than half of all current daily tobacco users (55.3%) have their first tobacco use of the day within 30 minutes of waking up. Smokeless tobacco products were used by 1.9% of adults (1.6 million) (2.9% of men and 0.9% of women). By region, South East has a higher percentage of smokeless tobacco users compared to other regions in Nigeria.

The good news is that together we can stop this epidemic from invading our territory. Join us in making this strong appeal for the National Assembly to pass comprehensive tobacco control legislation bill, follow us on twitter, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Together we can make the change that we all desire.

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