Nigeria: Groups Want Tobacco Industry Excluded From Tobacco Control Policies
By Ben Ezeamalu
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria, ERA/FoEN, and the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA, have urged the House of Representatives to exclude the tobacco industry from tobacco control policies and interaction.
At a media interaction with journalists in Lagos, Monday, the groups also reiterated their demand for the ban on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship.
"The tobacco industry is not a legitimate public health stakeholder, as tobacco has no known health benefits," said Akinbode Oluwafemi, Director of Corporate Accountability, ERA/FoEN.
The groups commended the lawmakers for organizing a public hearing on the Tobacco Smoking (Control) Bill, 2013, in July.
"At that epoch-making event, ERA/FoEN, CISLAC, NTCA, and other groups submitted memorandums to the House Committee on Health urging them to ensure that the final legislation is in tandem with the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, (WHO FCTC)," Mr. Oluwafemi said.
"While we commend the lawmakers for their strong support in garnering inputs of critical stakeholders in ensuring the bill is in sync with the WHO FCTC, we have observed with dismay the clandestine activities and visibility events by British American Tobacco Nigeria, BATN, and other tobacco entities in Nigeria, including their front groups seeking either to misinterpret the law or demanding the removal of key provisions that will make it implementable. Those events have particularly targeted agencies of government tasked with the responsibility of implementing the bill when it finally becomes law."
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