At a well attended press briefing held on Monday 24th.July, 2023 in Abuja, Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) has raised alarm over flagrant disregard for laid down extant rules and regulations guiding continuous expected changes- usually every two years in graphic health warnings policy implementation by tobacco manufacturing companies and apparent non-challant attitude of relevant bodies to enforce timely compliance.

In a speech delivered at the press briefing, the Chairman, of Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi stated that the negative effect of tobacco was a major public health concern and was the leading cause of preventable deaths across the globe, therefore all hands must be on deck to dissuade users of tobacco and other allied products.

He further cited that over 8 million deaths occur each year as a result and that if current trends persist, this number was expected to rise significantly in the coming years!

Mr Oluwafemi maintained that the introduction of Graphic Health Warnings (GHWs) on tobacco products was an effective way to reduce tobacco use and its associated harms.

There exist studies which have clearly shown that GHWs were more effective than text-only warnings in communicating the risks of tobacco use, they were more likely to be noticed easily and remembered by users, he stated.

The measure aptly contained in Article II of the world convention on tobacco control ( WHO-FCTC), and in our local laws.

Section 20 of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015 (NTC Act) requires manufacturers, importers, and distributors of tobacco to products to ensure that their products carry full coloured graphic health warnings, covering 50% of the principal display area, and that the approved graphic photo must clearly show the health implications of tobacco use and exposure.

The Alliance during the press briefing called on the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Nigeria Customs Service, and the Federal Ministry of Health to ensure the speedy implementation of graphic health warnings on all tobacco products, insisting that the policy should not be derailed.

Some of the members of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) in their separate remarks presented graphic analysis of the danger of not implementing the policy, amongst them were Mrs. Hilda Ochefu of Campaign For Tobacco-Free Kids, Mr. Michael Olaniyan, Nwokorie Chibuike: Program Manager (NTCA) and Mr Akinbode O.

Highlight of the press briefing was pictorial presentation of various awful cancerous effects on humans due to tobacco consumption. 

By Chukwudi Ozalla

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