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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

ERA lauds Reps over passage of Tobacco Bill

As world celebrates tobacco treaty

ENVIRONMENTAL Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has commended the House of Representatives for giving concurrent passage to the National Tobacco Control Bill, sponsored by Senator Olorunnimbe Mamora, describing it as a milestone in the history of public health in the country.
The bill was passed by the Senate on March 15, but the House of Representatives yesterday passed it into law, through a concurred resolution.
The passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill by both houses of the National Assembly has also placed Nigeria on the global map of countries that have domesticated the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).
ERA/FoEN’s Director of Corporate Accountability and Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “We commend the forthrightness of the House of Reps for seizing the opportunity of this year’s commemoration of the World No Tobacco Day to give this nation a law with far-reaching consequences on our well being. Though this took long to come, we are in no doubt that this bill will stem the gale of tobacco-related deaths.
“We cheer the House of Reps and the honourable lawmakers who deemed it fit to stamp their feet in the annals of history by passing a bill which will reduce smoking and its attendant health risks. This House of Reps will also be remembered for taking a bold step that will safeguard the health of Nigerians today and in the future.”
He, however, urged President Goodluck Jonathan to quickly append his signature to the Tobacco Law and to promptly constitute a National Tobacco Control Committee, which would guide its enforcement.
The National Tobacco Control Bill, when signed into law by the President, will repeal the Tobacco Control Smoking Act of 1990, which was promulgated under the military and championed by former Health Minister, the late Prof. Olikoye Ransome-Kuti.
Oluwafemi said that the current bill was a comprehensive law providing for regulations of supply and demand measures of tobacco products.
Meanwhile, the global community yesterday commemorated the World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) with this year’s focus on a new International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ report exposing Big Tobacco’s tactics to interfering with world’s first public health and corporate accountability treaty.