Nigerian anti-smoking advocates are getting behind a renewed push for stiffer tobacco control and higher tobacco taxes in Nigeria. Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, over the week, trained anti-tobacco advocates including government officials, members of the civil society, and Non-Governmental Organizations on effective strategy to get the “most comprehensive tobacco control law passed in Nigeria.”
The Nigerian government is preparing a new tobacco control act after its first attempt, a civil society driven process in 2011, failed to get President Goodluck Jonathan’s assent.
The new tobacco bill is still at the conception stage in Nigeria’s health ministry. When the new bill gets to the parliament and is open to public debate, anti tobacco advocates plan to push for higher tobacco taxes and stiffer tobacco laws to cut down tobacco consumption in Nigeria. The African Director of CTFK, Joshua Kyallo, said a higher tobacco tax will aide government “raise revenues, get money to invest in public health and address the consequences of tobacco use.”
Nigeria currently operates a 23-year-old tobacco control decree. The failed National Tobacco Control Bill 2009 is an upgrade of the Tobacco Control Act of 1990 and a replica of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). Nigeria ratified the FCTC treaty in October 2005.
Anti-tobacco advocates argue that Nigeria needs to fully adopt the more comprehensive provision of FCTC. The new tobacco bill will also provide broader free smoking zones to reduce health hazards associated with second hand smoking.