Saturday, April 6, 2019 4:54 pm
… CPC begins enforcement of Tobacco Laws in Lagos, others.
By Daniels Ekugo
The Consumer Protection Council has begun an awareness campaign on the National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA) across major cities in Nigeria where cigarettes and shisha are openly sold.
During the Lagos exercise, the CPC went on the operation with the Nigeria Police to extensive areas around the popular old Ojota Motorpark and adjoining motor parks. The team visited Kingsize Lounge in Oregun where shisha are allegedly sold to patrons.
According to Anyanwu Carmilus of CPC, Lagos branch, “In as much as ignorance of the law is not an excuse, we always sensitise and encourage businesses to voluntarily obey extant legislation, rules and regulations. Often, it is when that fails that we resort to full enforcement of the law,” Anyanwu said.
Last month, the CPC had embarked on a similar exercise in the federal capital territory.
The National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA) 2015 regulates and controls the production, manufacture, sale, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products in the country.
In 2017, the Nigerian government introduced nine regulations in the NTCA that would be implemented.
The regulations included the prohibition of the sale of tobacco products to and by anyone below 18 years; ban of sale of cigarettes in single sticks, cigarettes must be sold in packs of 20 sticks only; smokeless tobacco shall be sold in a minimum of a pack of 30 grammes; ban of sale or offer for sale or distribution of tobacco or tobacco products through mail, internet, or other online devices.
The rest were the prohibition of interference of the tobacco industry in public health and related issues; prohibition of smoking in public places; prosecution of the manager of a public place who permits smoking; prohibition of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship; and tobacco products’ compliance with the specified standard for content as set out by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria.
The CPC action is coming nearly two years after the number one health officer in the land, Professor Isaac Adewole announced nine provisions of the NTC Act that would not require regulations for its enforcement.
This means that agencies of government enforcing the law would not need the nod of the National Assembly and other bureaucracies to carry out enforcement.
Meanwhile, the exercise by the CPC has been commended by the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), which in a press briefing organised in Lagos said that the agency should not rest on its oars as it embarks on the national assignment of safeguarding the health of Nigerians.
Programme Coordinator of NTCA, Oluseun Esan said: “We are delighted that enforcement started in Abuja in January and has been extended to Lagos and Port Harcourt. We commend the CPC for taking the lead and ask that other agencies also join.’
Esan however explained that full enforcement of the Act will only occur when the National Assembly approves the National Tobacco Control Regulations which the Federal Executive Council (FEC) approved in June.