Improved projection of Tobacco Control measures can help to curtail death rates and expenses on health care in Nigeria.
The Programme Officer for the Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre CISLAC, Mr. Austin Erameh, said this at a one day media workshop in Gombe.
Mr Erameh said there was little awareness on the National Tobacco Control Act, aimed at protecting the public from the dangers of smoking.
According to him, the organisation is going round the six geo-political zones in Nigeria, to introduce media organisations to the law controlling access and consumption of tobacco products.
“Through the workshop, we intend o introduce media practitioners to the existence of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015……. we also hope that through this platform, we will be able to expose the participants to the normative content of the National Tobacco Controls Act and we believe that subsequently, media organizations across the respective zoned that we’ve been to, can begin to increase reportage of tobacco control issues across their media space,” Mr Erameh explained.
He therefore called for more awareness and education around the National Tobacco Control Act, which stipulates the steps to be taken to reduce the demand and supply of tobacco products in Nigeria.
The convener of the Good Governance Team and resource person at the workshop, Mr. Tunde Salman, said it was imperative to increase awareness on the issue because most people were not aware of the passage and assent of the bill into law since 2015.
“The law is the domestication of the World Health Organisation, WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, ratified by Nigeria in 2005. It is now divided into 12 parts, with each addressing issues on the dangers of tobacco consumption, as well as a comprehensive ban on tobacco advertisement, promotion and sponsorship among others,” Mr. Salman said.
He explained that the overall objectives of the Tobacco Control Act was its stringent form to address public health concerns arising from the intake of tobacco products, either directly or indirectly through second hand smokers.
Tobacco consumption remains the leading cause of preventable deaths, with the, WHO, putting the number of deaths from tobacco consumption at approximately six million deaths annually.
The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre, CISLAC , says a continuation of this trend will lead to approximately eight million deaths by the year 2030, with 80% of these deaths in developing countries, like Nigeria.
In recognition of the pending epidemic, CISLAC received support from the Africa Capacity Building Foundation towards stepping up its intervention in the area of public health related initiatives and contributing to the strengthening of tobacco control initiatives in Nigeria.
CISLAC has been holding capacity building Workshops in all six geo-political zones on the existence of the National Tobacco Act.
It is also building necessary capacities and relevant skills needed for effective implementation phases of the Act.