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Friday, March 13, 2009

Group chides Adedibu over tobacco bill

A Non-Governmental Organisation, Journalists Action on Tobacco and Health (JATH) has criticized the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industries, Senator Kamoru Adedibu, over his statement that the passage of the national tobacco control bill into law will throw 400,000 people into the unemployment market.

The group said it was unfortunate that Adedibu, who represents Oyo South at the Senate, also promised to mobilise his colleagues to ensure that the bill was not passed.

In a statement issued by the group’s Programme Manager, Mr. Yinka Olugbade, it said it was not surprised that Adedibu described the bill as a “misplaced priority” for the country.

“We are not surprised he described the bill as a misplaced priority, after all, he was speaking at the 2008 Farmers’ Productivity Award ceremony organised by the British American Tobacco Nigeria and BAT, one of the tobacco giants whose businesses have caused the death of many, made many to be down with cancers and kill many as a result of second hand smoking. They endanger the lives of millions and profit only a few,” said the group.

The bill being sponsored by Senator Olorunimbe Mamora prohibits the sale of cigarettes to anyone less than 18 years and restricts the sale of cigarettes to 1,000 metres radius from schools, playgrounds and anywhere that young and under-age persons congregate.

Jath said this bill, which also seeks to abolish all forms of tobacco advertisement and promotions, sponsorships or endorsements; prohibits the sale of cigarette in sticks and forbids smoking in public places, will empower the government to recoup public funds spent on treating people who fall sick through using tobacco once it becomes law.