Thursday, January 02, 2014

Our Tobacco Control Marker for 2014

Earlier today, I was reading an article quoting a doctor with the University of Toronto as stating tripling tobacco tax will reduce smoke by a third and potentially prevent an estimated 200 million lives dying prematurely from lung cancer and other diseases this century. "A higher tax on tobacco is the single most effective intervention to lower smoking rates and to deter future smokers," Jha said.

While this is bound to bring about much debate and generate tons of opinion on its impact, such policy thrust comes from a clear base of thought that has been encapsulated in the laws of any nation defining what is legal and illegal particularly when it comes to tobacco, its products and their use.

For Nigeria, our 2014 new year sojourn begins with  the need for us to set certain markers as essential things to get done over the course of the year that will propel us forward as a people and escalate our growth with better health indices. One such key goal is an enactment & implementation of a comprehensive tobacco legislation in the country with the broad objectives of;

1) Protecting minors from being involved in the distribution of tobacco and its products

2) Protecting minors from being involved in the production of tobacco and its products

3) Protecting minors from being involved in the sale of tobacco and its products

4) Protecting the Nigerian citizen from harmful exposure to second-hand smoke (shs) in public places like hospitals, government establishments, offices, entertainment centers, schools amongst others

5) Stopping the glamourization of tobacco and its products via attractive packaging and advertisements.

When it comes to laws, the legislative arm of government is our umpire as they draft and propose legislation that aims to positively impact the lives of Nigerians across all cadres.

As this year precedes elections in 2015, the window to get the present session of the National Assembly and state assemblies too to conclude all ongoing tobacco legislative efforts is time-bound. 

However, entering into 2014 with fresh hopes and expectations, as citizens of the commonwealth of Nigeria, we can play an active role in supporting efforts to encourage the legislative arm of government that a smoke-free Nigeria is of prime importance to us NOW and thus, is possible and attainable!

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