What Nigeria will gain via tobacco control –Oluwafemi, Esan

By Valentine Amanze

The Chairman, Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, has advised the Nigerian government and relevant stakeholders to prioritise tobacco control in their development agenda or forget genuine development.
Besides, his counterpart, Olu Esan, urged the government to increase the Exercise Duty on tobacco products to such extent that tax revenues realised from such could be used to fund sustainable development projects and tobacco control.
The duo spoke during a press briefing on Tuesday in Lagos, just as they lamented that despite the danger and risk factor of tobacco use as a major Non-Communicable Diseases, tobacco corporations have continued their unrelenting attack on developing countries while doing their harmful business.
More importantly, they were unanimous in their call for all Nigerian delegate for the Eight Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP8) to the WHO-FCTC billed for 1-6 October in Geneva, Switzerland to join regional and global efforts to promote tobacco control in Nigeria and Africa.
Oluwafemi said that reducing tobacco use plays a major role in global efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target to lessen premature deaths from Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) by one third by 2030.
He pointed out that tobacco menace was prevalent in low income and middle income (LMIC) countries like Nigeria due to weak laws, population dynamics and the global influence tobacco companies wield while doing their business.
H, however, urged government at all levels “to as a matter of priority, include tobacco control in their sustainable development priorities.
“Also all relevant agencies of government should start the enforcement of provisions of the NTC Act, 2015”.
But Esan said that there was the need to make strong commitment to accelerate the implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
“In particular, the pending adoption of the Global Strategies for Tobacco Control at the eight session of the FCTC COP in October this year. This offers an opportunity that must not be missed,” he noted.

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