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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Transmit tobacco bill for presidential assent, ERA tells NASS

The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth (ERA/FoEN) has asked the National Assembly to immediately transmit the recently passed National Tobacco Control Bill to the Presidency for signing into law in order to save millions of lives endangered by tobacco use.

In a release issued in Lagos and signed by the Director Corporate Accountability & Administration, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the group warned that failure to send the bill to the President for his signature would have negative consequences for public health in Nigeria and roll back any gains made by the passage of the bill in the first instance.

ERA/FOEN’s call is coming on the heels of a similar call by the American Cancer Society (ACS) for comprehensive policy to tackle the cancer epidemic in developing countries. The ACS made the call in New York at a meeting to deliberate on the United Nations High Level Meeting on Non Communicable Diseases (NCD).

The ACS said tobacco use in developing countries account for about 80 per cent of all cancer deaths.

“The two chambers of the National Assembly have put the health of Nigerians above partisan politics and profits of the tobacco multinationals by passing into law the National Tobacco Control Bill. It will be a waste of public resources expended into the process and a betrayer of public health if the Principal Officers in the National Assembly fail to transmit the bill to the president for signing.”