The Environmental Rights Action/ Friends of the earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) hasÂ Â commendedÂ theÂ Osun State governmentÂ for signing the Osun State Prohibition of Smoking in Public Places Bill 2009 into law, saying the decision is one of the most far-reaching efforts taken by any state in the Federation to safeguard public health.
The bill prohibits smoking in cinemas, theatres or the stadium, medical establishments, hotels; offices schools and public transportation, nursery institutions and lifts.
Another major highlight of the Bill is that it prohibits smoking in both private and public vehicles with a non smoking occupant below the age of 18 years.
In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN said that the Osun State government has taken a lead and demonstrated its responsiveness to the wellbeing of its people and public health and should be emulated by other states.
â€œThe Nigerian tobacco control community lauds this enviable step by the Osun State government as it will go a long way in checkmating the growing number of tobacco â€“induce deaths that have been on the steady increase,â€ said ERA/FoEN Programme Manager, Akinbode Oluwafemi.
He however noted that, â€œParadoxically, while Osun State has taken practical steps in safeguarding public health, the National Assembly is still foot-dragging on translating the all-encompassive National Tobacco Control Bill (NTCB)Â into law even with the overwhelming support that the bill engendered at the public hearing on July 20-21 last year.
Reiterating ERA/FoENâ€™s call for the National Assembly to expedite action on the NTCB, Oluwafemi said that Nigerians are dying by the seconds due to tobacco addiction while tobacco manufacturers smile to the banks. Every single day that we delay the implementation of strict laws there will be more deaths, more ill-heaths and the economy will suffer.