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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Activists seek control law as World marks No Tobacco Day

NIGERIA would make a significant statement on global environmental right to good health, if the House of Representatives concurrently pass the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) today to commemorate the “World No Tobacco Day” (WNTD) 2011, according to environment activists.
The stakeholders said the law would mark the implementation of the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) treaty, which reaffirmed the right of all people to highest standard of health and regulatory strategy at addressing addictive substances.
The activists, under the aegis of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) said in Lagos yesterday that the passage of the bill would mark a wonderful gift to all Nigerians and the entire public health community globally.
In a statement to mark the day, ERA/FoEN wrote: “As we celebrate the WNTD, we call on the respected honourable members of the House of Representatives to again rise to the occasion of this national call to service and ensure that the fundamentals of governance, which is the protection of the health and provision of welfare and security to the people, is enforced.”
Programme Manager ERA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, added that apart from the “five-minute” task before the House of Representatives; “we are also urging immediate accent by the President, prompt constitution of the National Tobacco Control Committee, mass education of the citizen as regards their rights and obligation as regards the law.”

Group calls for passage of Tobacco Control Bill

imageAs the world marks World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) today, an appeal has gone to the National Assembly to ensure the passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill. Speaking yesterday at a press conference in Lagos, the Director of Corporate Campaign, Environment Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA), Akinbode Oluwafemi, urged the National to pass the bill before it winds up this week.
Oluwafemi said: “The passage of the bill will mark a wonderful gift to all Nigerians and the public health community globally.” He said the bill is in line with the World Health Organisation’s treaty which is the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), adding that the lawmakers should waste no time in ensuring the bill becomes a law.

“Efforts to arrest the problem of tobacco smoking must be global in scope and perspective. Tobacco is a killer. It kills half of its users. It currently kills about six million people in year. Latest projection says by 2030, it will be killing 10 million people a year,” Oluwafemi said.


Group reiterates call for Tobacco Law

As the world marks the ‘World No Tobacco Day' today, the anti-tobacco group, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), has restated its call for the signing of the National Tobacco Control Bill into law.
Commemorated on the 31st of May of every year, the theme of this year's event is ‘The WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC)'.

The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the first treaty to be negotiated under the auspices of the World Health Organisation, is an evidence-based treaty that reaffirms the right of all people to the highest standard of health. It is also the first regulatory strategy to address addictive substances.
The treaty entered into force in February 2006 while Nigeria signed and ratified it in 2004 and 2005 respectively.
"The choice of this year's theme cannot be more emphatic, given the current situations in Nigeria regarding our quest to ratify the FCTC by way of a domestic law," said Akinbode Oluwafemi, director of corporate campaigns at ERA/FoEN, in a chat with journalists to commemorate the event on Monday, in Lagos.
"This year, tobacco control groups all over the world will be reappraising their stand in regard to the provisions of the FCTC," Mr Oluwafemi said.

‘Concur the bill'
The National Tobacco Control Bill, which had been passed by the Senate in March this year, has just passed the first reading in the House of Representatives.
"Essentially, what we are saying is that rather than being bogged down by the politics of the two Houses, we are saying that this is a national call and what we need is just a concurrence," said Mr Oluwafemi.
"What we are doing now is to tell you we don't want it to pass through first, second and third readings because we have just three days," noted Mr Oluwafemi, on the time before the expiration of the tenure of the current members of the House.
"What we want is that the way other bills were passed, all those bills that they passed recently like the Sovereign Wealth bill and others, they take it to the House and they say ‘I concur.' Let them concur this bill because it has to be law. We just need very little effort now to get to where we need," Mr Oluwafemi added.
The anti-tobacco activist also insisted that the tobacco control bill, contrary to public perception, "is not an attack on smokers."
"Let me tell you that most smokers in the world actually want to quit. No survey that has been done among smokers that doesn't show 40 - 60 per cent support for Tobacco Control law because they are actually looking for motivation to be able to get out of smoking," he said.
"A lot of them that have started do not want their children to smoke, that is very clear. This not an attack on anybody. We think that it is rather they should help us to ensure that they get out of tobacco addiction," he added.

Awareness on dangers of smoking
The ‘World No Tobacco Day' is commemorated every year to create mass awareness about the dangers of smoking and to pressure governments and policy makers on the need to curb deaths and ill-health caused by smoking. Latest projections estimate that by 2030, tobacco-related deaths would rise to 10 million people a year.
"We are hoping and are believing God and we are counting on the integrity of these people that the bill will be passed because we know the amount of resources that have been committed by both the House of Representatives and the Senate, that they would not allow this effort to go wasted.

Environmentalists urge Reps to pass Tobacco Control Bill today

•Mark World No Tobacco Day
The Environmental Rights Action (ERA) yesterday urged the House Representatives to pass the National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB) today.
Its Director, Corporate Accountability and Administration Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, said the House of Representatives would make history by passing the bill on the day the world is making the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD).
He said the passage and assent of the bill would discourage tobacco use, a habit responsible for half of the death of its users worldwide.
He spoke to reporters yesterday during the organisation’s World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) programme in Lagos. The theme of today’s World No Tobacco Day is the World Health Organisation (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
Oluwafemi said the House of Representatives passed a Tobacco Control Bill in 2008, sponsored by Hon Friday Itular and Bassey Etim, adding that the Bill did not address the critical issues of tobacco use.
Tobacco use needs to be controlled because it is a public health concern, he added.
Oluwafemi said failure by the House of Representatives to pass the Bill would amount to wastage of taxpayers’ money, because the incoming lawmakers would have to commence the process from start.
"If they don’t pass the Bill before the end of their tenure, they would have to start the process of the passage from scratch which has economic effect on the country," he said.
Oluwafemi said the Bill conforms to the WHO/FCTC, adding that tobacco currently kills about six million people annually. "It is projected that it will kill 10 million people by 2030," he said.
He added: "The Bill from the Senate has passed first reading in the House. Let me on behalf of tobacco control groups in Nigeria salute the zeal and enthusiasm already shown by the sponsors of the bill and the House. This has given us the hope that the House will once again rise up to this challenge and concurs to the bill from the Senate.
"It is also noteworthy to mention that all the provisions raised in the bill by Hon Itular and Etim have also been comprehensively addressed by the bill from the Senate in order to ensure that it conforms with the standards recommended by the FCTC
"The bill has taken into cognisance every aspect of tobacco control and devised ways to protect our people from the dangers associated with smoking."



Monday, May 30, 2011