Thursday, May 29, 2014

Let your voice be heard: Sign the Petition!!!


It has been established that some of the debilitating effects of smoking include lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis and emphysema), stroke, ischaemic heart disease and impotence. It is also known that smoking is the single most preventable cause of mortality across the world. To further buttress this point, we’d like to just punch out the numbers again –

·     The projected number of tobacco-related deaths over this century is One Billion
·         Globally, it is estimated that there are currently 4 million tobacco attributable deaths each year, with current trends driving a rise to 10 million deaths per year by the 2030s
·         Approximately 3,000 lung cancer deaths are known to occur annually among adult nonsmokers as a result of exposure to secondhand smoke (SHS)
·         4.7 million Nigerian adults aged 15 years or older use tobacco products and are therefore prone to tobacco-related deaths 


It is important to note that since the commencement of anti-smoking campaign in the USA in 1964, more than
8 million lives have been saved which is an indication of the effectiveness of anti-smoking campaigns. In addition to this, the countries that have domesticated the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) have been experiencing significant reduction in the prevalence of smoking in their countries. A major example is Ireland where there was 33% reduction in smoking prevalence in one year as a result of immense public support and high level of compliance for the tobacco control law.

At the moment, an executive-sponsored bill on Tobacco Control has been forwarded to the National Assembly and there are also two different bills before the National Assembly  sponsored by Senator Ifeanyi Okowa and Hon. Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu. We can say that without a doubt Nigeria stands to benefit immensely from the enactment of a FCTC-compliant National Tobacco Control law and it behooves us as  patriotic citizens of Nigeria to call on members of the National Assembly to ensure relevant processes are put in place for speedy passage of a FCTC-compliant Tobacco Control bill.

We will like to therefore implore you to kindly add you voice to the call for speedy passage of the bill by signing the petition on this link – http://tobaccoctrl.ng/pass-national-tobacco-control-bill-ntcb-now/

You can also support the Tobaccoctrl campaign by visiting our Facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share the posts widely with your friends. Let’s help make Nigeria a SMOKE-FREE country TODAY!

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl
- Facebook: Visit and like Tobaccoctrl
- Google Plus: add Tobaccoctrl to your circle
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

We can’t wait any longer


Isn’t it ironic that funds raised yearly on tobacco control is below $400 million compared to $18 billion for AIDS, $2.5 billion for tuberculosis and around $2 billion for malaria. As a result, while there has been a gradual decrease in the incidence of AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria, tobacco-related deaths have been on a sharp increase.
The WHO FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) is a truce with an overall aim of protecting present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic effect of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke. It can also substantially reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke. The domestication of the WHO FCTC by most developed countries has translated to marked reduction in tobacco consumption and less exposure to secondhand smoke in these countries.
More than 8 million lives have been saved since the anti-smoking campaign started in 1964 in the U.S. Despite not adding the figures from other countries, we can say this is a huge number. We should also note that although the number of smokers recorded nationwide especially in Bangladesh, Russia, Indonesia and China rose to 1billion, this amount could have been doubled without the anti-smoking campaign.
With reduction in the number of smokers in countries with stringent tobacco laws, its effect was the migration of tobacco companies to developing countries where such laws where neither existent or were poorly enforced as a likely result of ease in bribing and influencing the decisions of policy makers.
While many developed countries enjoy their freedom to breathe in non-tobacco tainted air in public places, it is distressing to know that the number of people who smoke in developing countries like Nigeria and other low and middle-income countries has increased over time. This trend has therefore led to an offset in the progress made in countries such as the U.S., Canada, Iceland and Mexico where smoking prevalence has decreased by nearly 50 percent.
As the overall number of smokers worldwide is still rising, it is imperative that all countries implement tobacco control measures to curb the terrible toll of tobacco-related illness and death. We therefore urge all Nigerians to join us in making a strong appeal to the National Assembly to pass the National Tobacco Control Bill by signing the petition at this link- http://tobaccoctrl.ng/pass-national-tobacco-control-bill-ntcb-now/
We also implore you to plan to attend public hearings that will be called by the National Assembly as part of the process of passing the bill and you can follow us on twitter, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share the post widely with your family and friends. 

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl
- Facebook: Visit and like Tobaccoctrl
- Google Plus: add Tobaccoctrl to your circle

- 2go: add Tobaccoctrl

Friday, May 16, 2014

It is Better Now than Later

Either by omission or commission, it is interesting how many people fail to take into consideration immediate & long-term impact of a smoking lifestyle. Infact, it is quite common especially amongst young people who smoke to debate and argue about the effects their bodies have to deal with. It is only as smokers get older & side-effects become more obvious that some smokers accept the UNDENIABLE truth.
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It is a well-established fact that smoking causes lung cancer, heart disease, and stroke which typically do not occur until years after a person’s first cigarette. Unfortunately, smokers seem to turn blind eyes on these health hazards, even when it’s clearly written on the packs.
However, human behavior is not ONLY influenced by facts as there is a myriad of social and cultural factors since a common connotation of smoking means it is seen as a stress reliever although medical science has shown the numerous & immediate health risks it poses to the brain, the respiratory, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, immune and metabolic systems. While these immediate effects do not all produce noticeable symptoms, most begin to damage the body with the first cigarette sometimes irreversibly – and rapidly produce serious medical conditions and health consequences for persons who smoke and those exposed to tobacco smoke too.
It is no longer news that about 168 countries including Nigeria are signatories or parties to the FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control). While Nigeria is yet to fully domesticate the FCTC, South Africa, a fellow African country has one of the most comprehensive tobacco control policies in the world; the question on everyone’s heart is why the Nigeria policy makers are still delaying in passing this crucial and lifesaving bill into law.
“If Nigeria passes the law, it has instant implications both for the country as well as the African continent. As we have seen huge success & significant steps in this regard across Latin America where huge progress has been made on tobacco control, we know it is possible to replicate such here.
The time to act is NOW not later, as a stitch in time saves nine or so we were taught.  Nigerians deserve to live in a country where we can breathe fresh air and not toxic chemicals that are harmful to the body.
Join us in making this strong appeal for the National Assembly to call for public hearing regarding this pressing issue, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Let’s help make Nigeria a SMOKE-FREE zone TODAY!
You should also actively participate in TC discussions on the following social media platforms:
- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl
- Facebook: Visit and like Tobaccoctrl
- Google Plus: add Tobaccoctrl to your circle
- 2go: add Tobaccoctrl

Friday, May 09, 2014

Calling for Public Hearing

As time ticks & the clock winds down for the seventh session of Nigeria’s National Assembly, the country faces a critical moment. Once more, Nigeria is on the brink of passing the National Tobacco Control Bill: a ground-breaking measure that could save the lives of millions of Nigerian youth over the coming decades from tobacco-related disease and death.

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While applauding the Lagos state house of Assembly for the passage of Tobacco Control bill, banning smoking in public places in the state, we are therefore soliciting the same speedy feat to be repeated at the federal level where the National TC Bill is yet to be given the requisite attention and pride of place. It is time for the lawmakers at the national level to prioritize the health and wellness of the citizens by speeding up work on the bill to make it a law

The solution is clear. If passed, Nigeria’s National Tobacco Control Bill would protect millions of Nigerian youth from this devastating fate. 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.
Two key elements of the proposed Tobacco Control Bill affects supply & demand as an increase in the price of tobacco packs will make it difficult for the underaged to purchase it while making public places NO-SMOKING zones will make people reduce number of sticks they smoke since they can’t smoke everywhere.

We call for an urgent public hearing on this issue to debate the matter at both the upper & lower chambers of the National to promote the safety and health of our citizens. To join us in making this strong appeal for the National Assembly to pass this bill, add your voice by visiting our facebook page, like our post, drop your comments and share widely with others. Let’s help make Nigeria a SMOKE-FREE zone TODAY!

You should also actively participate in the discussions presently ongoing on the following social media platforms:
- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl
- Facebook: Visit and like Tobaccoctrl
- Google Plus: add Tobaccoctrl to your circle
- 2go: add Tobaccoctrl

Friday, May 02, 2014

Fighting for a Billion Lives



ONE BILLION – this is the number of innocent souls tobacco will kill worldwide this century if urgent and drastic action is not put in place to stop this dilemma. Everyone knows by now that it is one of the most easily preventable causes of death, and yet some leaders and citizens will prefer to fold their hands and do nothing.

In the United States alone, tobacco kills 443,000 people every year. Such huge numbers can seem daunting and farfetched but we should never lose sight of the fact that these numbers represent real people whose lives are devastated by tobacco –mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters, friends and colleagues. We should not also forget that most of these smokers picked up this horrible habit at a very young and vulnerable age, lured by the predatory marketing of the tobacco industry.

There is no questioning whether Nigerians  have  awaken to challenge this situation and aim to win the fight against tobacco – the world’s number one cause of preventable death. A notable success in this regard is the approval of the draft National Tobacco Control Bill by the National Executive Council and submission to the National Assembly but we cannot rest on our oars and take this progress for granted. We must be as relentless and resourceful in working to save lives as the tobacco industry is in promoting its deadly and addictive products.

Cigarettes are not just the world’s number one cause of preventable death; they’re also a major cause of air, land and water pollution. In fact, butts are the number one littered item on highways, beaches and waterways worldwide. Cigarettes kill and secondhand smoke produces harmful air pollution. Despite the clear environmental damage cigarettes cause, some tobacco companies advertise their cigarettes as “natural,” “100% additive-free,” “organic” and even “eco-friendly.” 

Nigeria once again has the opportunity to stand up to Big Tobacco and make sure that corporate interests don’t trump the health of its people. It’s time for members of the National Assembly to re-evaluate their priorities. Do they want to be on the side of an industry that lies to the public and promotes a product that kills? If they are truly committed to saving lives and representing the interests of the public, they must not only reject any form of comradeship with Big Tobacco but must also support the swift passage of Nigeria’s National Tobacco Control Bill and vote overwhelmingly in its favor.

Our lawmakers should not be lured by the corporate social responsibility schemes of the tobacco industry which they so often use to gloss over the industry’s tarnished reputation and undermine public health policymaking. Lawsuits filed in the United States in the 1990s had revealed that Big Tobacco lied to the public, manipulated policy, bullied governments around the world in order to protect its profits and paid executives and PR firms to develop a strategy to distract the public from the industry’s history of deception. Lawmakers should not be swayed by this ‘show of corporate responsibility’ but ask themselves if a company that manufactures a product that will kill one billion people in this century should be considered responsible and assured a limitedly restrictive environment to operate in Nigeria.

To support the campaign for passage of a comprehensive National Tobacco Control bill, you can join Fela Durotoye and Stella Damasus to share information on Tobacco Control issues by signing up to become a cause champion. Together we can protect the present and future generations from this preventable death. To become a cause champion, simply send your 1) Name 2) Email 3) Telephone No and 4) your location to info@socialresponsibilitymanagers.org


- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter
- Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tobaccoctrl 
- For more facts and Tobacco Control tips visit www.tobaccoctrl.ng


Friday, April 25, 2014

WANTED: A Tobacco Control Bill in Nigeria

A look through government and law-making since 1999 shows a number of battles fought over time to get proper legislation in place on a diverse range of issues such as the EFCC Act, NAFDAC Act, FOI Bill to mention a few.

The most recent law that took quite a while to enact we would like to review is the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act. The aim of this law was to empower Nigerians to serve as whistleblowers while also opening up the opaque processes that shrouded issues of national interest in a domain outside of accountability & transparency. In the cause of getting an FOI, there were ups & downs with campaigners experiencing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory as in 2007 after many years, a failure to secure Presidential seal meant the bill passed by the National Assembly did not become law.

A quick research shows that since 1999, the bulk of successfully enacted legislation were bills either sponsored by the Executive arm of government or bills with strong executive interest. Whether this is because an executive interest in a bill gives it needed political capital or it fires up the legislative arm to speed up consideration of this bills is another matter but suffice to say, the job seems to get done more often than not.

It is in light of this, that one might consider developments regarding tobacco control legislation in Nigeria a two-edged sword as last month, March 2014, the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved that a draft bill on tobacco control be passed onto the National Assembly for their consideration.

While this follows a trend with strong batting averages when it comes to bills successfully becoming law, it increases the number of bills currently under consideration by the National Assembly on the critical issue of Tobacco Control (TC) legislation as in particular, the House of Representatives has been moving consistently concerning the draft bill sponsored by one of its own, Hon. Yacoob Bush-Alebiosu.

This means that on the single issue of tobacco control, there is a critical need to get all draft bills in the National Assembly harmonized ASAP as with a plethora of committee sittings, public hearings & plenary session needed to take place at both the Senate and House of Representatives, time is the essential factor here that we do not have an endless supply of. This will ensure there is no duplication of effort in passing through all the required steps in our bill-making process. Also, it is critical to ensure that none of the draft bills becomes a stumbling block to the others as failure to get any of them successfully through the loops may mean major challenges to a TC Bill being enacted without hassles.

It might be time & resource saving to consider incorporating strengths of each of the draft bills into ONE harmonized version that will then be considered by both the Senate & House of Representatives going through all the required loops. Taking this route is a more strategic approach to delivering in a TIMELY manner a much needed & wanted law for Nigerians.

In other news
TC SELFIE PHOTO CONTEST: 7days to go
I am sure you are aware but just in case for some reason, you have not turned in yours yet, this is a REMINDER. There is an ongoing 'selfie' photo contest for our project. Please check the project website (www.tobaccoctrl.ng) for full details.

BECOME A CAUSE CHAMPION!
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 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 to info @ socialresponsibilitymanagers.org

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter
- Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tobaccoctrl 
- For more facts and Tobacco Control tips visit www.tobaccoctrl.ng

Friday, April 18, 2014

Let the change begin


Across Africa, the Tobacco Control campaign is gaining ground with the recent passage of bills in Senegal & Ghana that is aimed at protecting citizens and significantly reducing the smoking menace. However, opponents of these efforts have employed delay tactics to curtail the progress of the passage of Tobacco control bills in some of the African countries like Zambia and Malawi, where the action on smoking and its health implications has competed for attention with other issues.

The goal is to ensure this does not happen in Nigeria as the enforcement of meaningful tobacco control legislation not only solidify locally our agreement with the FCTC but also ensures we are better placed to benefit millions of lives affected directly & indirectly by a lifestyle choice with grave consequences for all.

We must be willing to follow examples of like Ukraine that banned tobacco corporate social responsibility initiatives and adopted other tobacco control measures witnessing smoking rates country-wide take a nosedive. In a survey, the Ukrainian government found the national smoking rate during the period between January and September 2013 was 15 percent lower than the same period in 2012. Now, that’s a huge drop in one year and effectively thousands of lives were saved. Nigeria must adopt these measures if she wants the lives of her citizens preserved and even our children unborn. These evidence-based policies are supported by a critical provision of the FCTC – Article 5.3 – which states that the tobacco industry has an irreconcilable conflict with public health. The guidelines to FCTC implementation recommend government officials reject real and perceived partnerships with the tobacco industry and ban on tobacco industry corporate social responsibility.

Let’s not allow history to repeat itself and allow anything distract us from the task at hand. With the fate of thousands of young Nigerians at stake, the time to act is now. Just as neighboring countries like Ghana have implemented tobacco controls that are the first step in saving their youth, we urge Nigeria’s Parliamentarians and policymakers to step up and follow suit. Do not fall prey to misleading tactics by the Tobacco Industry and derail Nigeria’s most critical opportunity to save the lives of its people. It’s time to pass the National Tobacco Control Bill.

Within the next two weeks, there will be a public hearing on the draft of the tobacco control bill by The House of Representatives. 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. We implore you to 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 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 to info@socialresponsibilitymanagers.org

- Twitter: Follow @TobaccoCtrl on Twitter
- Like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tobaccoctrl 
- For more facts and Tobacco Control tips visit www.tobaccoctrl.ng

PS
We would like to wish everyone a wonderful Easter holiday.