Experts brainstorm on implementation of National Tobacco Control Act
Public health experts who converged on Abuja for a three-day Tobacco Control Implementation Strategy Workshop have agreed to collaborate better in implementing the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015.
The meeting focused on the review of provisions of the law and communication strategies to increase compliance.
In her welcome speech, Director of Public Health at the Ministry of Health, Evelyn Ngige, said the Federal Government was committed to safeguarding the health of its citizens by implementing the NTC Act.
Ngige explained that rolling back the tobacco menace was no mean task, as it required collaboration and synergy between public health experts and civil society.
She stressed that the dangers of tobacco includes predisposition of smokers and secondhand smokers to non-communicable diseases such as cancer, diabetes and tuberculosis.
She noted, however, that the Federal Government was ready to enforce provisions of the law, as announced by the Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole, at the commemoration of the World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2017.
Some of the provisions include the prohibition of sale of tobacco products to and by anyone below 18 years of age; ban of single stick sale of cigarettes, prohibition of tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorships; and compliance with specified standards for content, as stipulated by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), among others.
Speaking, Africa Director of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Bintou Camara, said the journey to getting Nigeria’s NTC Act in place has been a long battle strewn with obstacles from the tobacco industry.
Camara explained that in the journey, the CTFK had partnered with the Ministry of Health, adding that public health professionals and tobacco control advocates should work harder to ensure that the implementation of the Act commences without further delay.
She cautioned that array of exposures showing a desperate tobacco industry in recent times makes it imperative for advocates and agencies of government to speed up the implementation of the law.
Participants at the training included representatives of the Ministry of Health, civil society, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON), among others.
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