FG set to prohibit sale of cigarettes to under 18, prosecute offenders
The federal government is on the verge of prohibiting the sale of tobacco products to any person below the age of 18 in line with the provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA).
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Health (FMoH), security agencies in conjunction with civil society organizations (CSOs) and other stakeholders, on Monday, met in Abuja to fine -tune a draft national implementation plan to achieve the goal.
Director of the public health department of the ministry, Dr. Evelyn Ngige, applauded the initiative adding that the tobacco control unit of the ministry would surely coordinate tobacco control activities in the country.
Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi who is a Tobacco Control Advocate stated that the implementation of the NTCA was long overdue considering the fact that the legislation was signed into law in 2015.
Oluwafemi who is the Deputy Director Environmental Rights Action (ERA) and Friends of the Earth noted that it behooves the authorities to protect the citizenry from the menace of Tobacco through the development of a 5 year national Tobacco control strategic plan of action.
The Africa Director of the campaign for Tobacco -free kids (CFTFK), Ms. Bintou-Camara also welcomed the initiative adding it was unfortunate that those behind the tobacco industry have devised more strategies to thwart effort to prohibit the use of tobacco products in the country.
The draft, which is a derivative of the nine key provisions of the NTCA, also seeks to ban the sale of cigarettes in single sticks, ban of sale or offer for sale or distribution of Tobacco or tobacco products through mail, Internet or other online devices. It further seeks to prohibit interference of Tobacco industry in public health and related issues, prohibition of smoking in anywhere on the premises of a childcare facility; educational facility; and health care facility.
Other prohibited places for smoking include playgrounds, amusement parks, plazas, public parks, stadium, public transport, restaurants, bars or other public gathering spaces.
The measure also seek to ensure prosecution of owner of manager of any of the places where the products are sold indiscriminately as well as prohibit Tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of any kind.