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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Group commends lawmakers over passage of Tobacco Bill

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), a nongovernmental organisation (NGO), has commended the concurrent passage of the National Tobacco Control Bill by the House of Representatives on Tuesday. It described as a milestone in the history of public health in Nigeria.
As the world marked the World No Tobacco Day on the 31st of May, the Lower House gave concurrent passage to the bill, which was sponsored by Olorunnimbe Mamora (ACN - Lagos East) and had been passed by the Senate on March 15, 2011.
A laudable move
The passage of the bill by both Houses has also placed Nigeria on the global map of countries that have domesticated the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the group pointed out.
“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 wellbeing,” said Akinbode Oluwafemi, ERA/FoEN’s director of corporate accountability & administration.
“Though this took long to come, we are in no doubt that this bill will stem the gale of tobacco-related deaths,” continued Mr Oluwafemi. “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,” Mr Oluwafemi added.
He, however, urged the President to append his signature without delay to the Tobacco Law and also see to the prompt constitution of a National Tobacco Control Committee to guide its enforcement.
The National Tobacco Control Bill repeals the Tobacco Control Smoking Act of 1990, which was promulgated under the military and championed by former health minister, late Olikoye Ransome Kuti. The current bill is a comprehensive law providing for regulations of supply and demand measures relating to tobacco products.