British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) has expressed its support for what it describes as a balanced and evidence-based public-places smoking bill currently being given a public hearing in Lagos, according to a story in the Nigerian Tribune.
The company lauded Nigeria's House of Assembly for producing a bill to address the issue of smoking in public.
It said it believed that a workable bill would help reduce the impact of tobacco on the country's public health.
Also speaking at the public hearing, the Assistant Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Anthony Ibafor, said his organization was against the bill because, in the long run, it would lead to unemployment.
Distributors and representatives of restaurants, bars and café owners also agreed that the passage of the bill, in its current form, would have a negative impact on their businesses.
They asked the legislators to include provision in the bill for designated smoking areas, and they appealed for enough time to be allowed for them to meet display-sign requirements.
Nurudeen Ogbara, who represented the Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance, which comprises 40 civil society organizations, said the bill had limited potential to aid the cause of public health.
The head of regulatory affairs at BATN, Sola Dosunmu, said BATN had always supported appropriate regulation for the tobacco industry in Nigeria.
But he added that any proposed regulation should not force regulated businesses out of operation.
Dosunmu advocated a ban on the sale of cigarettes to anyone under the age of 18, higher than the age of 15 proposed in the bill.