Stakeholders hail Reps over Tobacco Control Bill
Stakeholders have hailed the House of Representatives for conducting the recent public hearing on the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB).
They said the action would address the controversy surrounding smoking in public.
Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) National Vice-President Dele Sotuba said the organisation was happy with the National Assembly for the planned law.
He noted that such a statute would sanitise the tobacco industry.
The NACCIMA chief urged the House to enact a producer-user-friendly legislation that would reduce the negative effects and maximise the positive effects of tobacco production and smoking in Nigeria.
At the presentation of the organisation’s memorandum, the Director of Environmental Rights Action and Friends of the Earth (ERA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, hailed the lawmakers for its front role to regulate the tobacco industry.
He said ERA was calling for the regulation of tobacco products’ contents, the packaging and labelling.
According to him, ERA is also advocating the rights of non-smokers, since tobacco affects its consumers and non-consumers.
Also, the Head of Research of the Initiative for Public Policy Analysis (IPPA) Mr. Olusegun Sotola said the regulation should be balanced and cater for the rights of the smokers and non-smokers.
He said this would ensure that it does not result in unintended consequences.
According to him, it must be realised that the issue of tobacco has both the health and economic implications.
“As long as there is demand, there must be supply. The right of smokers must be catered for and if the bill as it is drafted, is passed, it will not only affect the manufacturing but the whole value chain; farmers, distributors, retailers, suppliers. This will impact on the economy negatively,” Sotola said.
British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN), in its presentation to the House, supported the passage of a balanced and evidence-based bill for the industry.