Nigeria’s health minister, Prof. Isaac Adewole has announced the immediate implementation and enforcement of key sections of the 2015 National Tobacco Control Act (NTC).
He made the announcement in a press release on Wednesday as part of activities to mark the ‘World No Tobacco Day’.
He said: “Having carefully analyzed the NTC Act 2015, I wish to announce with high sense of responsibility that Government will begin implementing the following provisions:
- Prohibition of sale of tobacco products to and by anyone below 18.
- 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 grams.
- Ban of sale or offer for sale or distribution of tobacco or tobacco products through mail, internet or other online devices.
- Prohibition of interference of tobacco industry in public health and related issues.
- Prohibition of smoking in anywhere on the premises of a child care facility; educational facility; and health care facility.
- Other prohibited places for smoking include playgrounds; amusement parks; plazas; public parks; stadium, public transports, restaurants, bars, or other public gathering spaces.
- Prosecution of owner or manager of any of the places listed above, who permits, encourages or fails to stop smoking in the above listed places.
- Prohibition of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of any kind. Compliance with specified standard for content as set out by Standards Organisation of Nigeria.”
According to him, evidence from the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that tobacco use costs national economies immensely through increased health-care cost and decreased productivity. He said it worsens health inequalities and increase poverty as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care.
He added that Nigeria is currently exploring using tobacco tax and levies as means of financing the Universal Health Coverage agenda of the Muhammadu Buhari’s administration.
“Increasing taxes and levies on tobacco products can reduce its consumption and secondary generate revenue which can be used to finance universal health coverage and other developmental health programme,” he said.