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

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We would like to wish everyone a wonderful Easter holiday.

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