Prof. Adewole, has announced the enforcement of ban on sale of cigarettes to persons under 18 years in Nigeria, and in units among others. This is coming as the WHO disclosed that over 4.5m Nigerian adults are addicted to smoking tobacco substances.
He said: “Having carefully analysed the NTC Act 2015, I wish to announce with high sense of responsibility that government will begin implementing the following provisions;” Adewole said.
“Ban of sale or offer for sale or distribution of tobacco or tobacco products through mail, internet or other online device; prohibition of interference of tobacco industry in public health and related issues; and Prohibition of smoking in anywhere on the premises of a child care facility; educational facility; and health care facility.
Other prohibited places for smoking include playgrounds; amusement parks; plazas; public parks; stadium, public transports, restaurants, bars, or other public gathering spaces.”
The minister also directed the “prosecution of owner or manager of any of the places listed above, who permits, encourages or fails to stop smoking in the above listed places; prohibition of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship of any kind; and compliance with specified standard for content as set out by Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
Adewole noted that available WHO evidence indicates that tobacco use costs national economies immensely, through increased healthcare cost and decrease productivity, adding that it worsens health inequalities and increase poverty as the poorest people spend less on essentials such as food, education and health care.
He said the country is currently exploring using tobacco tax and levies as means of financing the Universal Health Coverage agenda of the Buhari administration.