FG advocates for stringent oversight of the tobacco sector

Date:

The Federal Government underscores the imperative for stringent regulation of the tobacco industry, aligning with national laws and global best practices.

Prof. Ali Pate, the Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, emphasized this during the formal launch of the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission’s tobacco control advocacy campaign, titled ‘Don’t burn their future’, held in Lagos.

Pate, represented by Dr. Malau Toma, Chairman of the Tobacco Control Unit, Federal Ministry of Health, highlighted the economic toll of tobacco, noting that for every $1 gained, $3 was spent on healthcare due to its adverse effects.

He stressed that tobacco not only harms economies, sustainable development, and the environment but also perpetuates poverty, particularly among low-income earners ensnared by tobacco addiction.

Emphasizing the tobacco industry’s tactics, Pate pointed out its focus on flooding markets with new products and skirting laws in advertising, promotions, celebrity endorsements, corporate social responsibility, and recruiting new users.

He lauded the FCCPC’s legal action against British American Tobacco Nigeria for anti-tobacco and anti-competition practices, aligning it with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Pate expressed satisfaction that the FCCPC chose to fund the advocacy campaign from the penalty imposed on BATN, which faced a $110 million fine in December for anticompetitive practices.

Adamu Abdullahi, the acting Executive Vice Chairman/CEO of FCCPC, highlighted the significant impact of the tobacco epidemic on health, urging robust policies to deter initiation and promote cessation.

Abdullahi detailed the FCCPC’s comprehensive campaign targeting primary tobacco smokers and engaging retailers as agents of change, enforcing age verification for tobacco products.

The agency collaborates with Civil Society Organizations, offering counseling services and toll-free lines to support individuals aiming to quit smoking, paving the way for a smoke-free future.

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