By Oboh Agbonkhese
Anambra State, and indeed all South-East States, have been urged to emulate Anambra State whose House of Assembly is considering a bill to regulate smoking in public places, which, if passed into law, would curtail indiscriminate smoking of any kind in open places.
The Executive Director of New Life Community Care Initiative, NELCCI, Florence Ifeanyi-Aneke, gave the charge in a statement, saying Anambra Assembly’s move is a bold step and the first attempt to curtail the epidemic of tobacco in eastern Nigeria, which should be replicated in Enugu and other eastern states.
Ifeanyi-Aneke said the importance of having such a law in Enugu is necessitated by a recent report by the Environmental Rights Action and Nigeria Tobacco Control Research Group, NTCRG, which listed Enugu among states targeted by tobacco companies to market tobacco to kids.
In the statement by Ejike Onyia, NELCCI Media Adviser, Ifeanyi-Aneke said: “The report, Big Tobacco, Tiny Targets Nigeria, noted that school age children are exposed to cigarettes sold side by side candies and of course, this is a ploy to lure them into procuring the colourful cigarettes after which they remain hooked for life.”
She cautioned that if laws are not put in place to check the trend, the next generation of tobacco addicts was already being groomed and would pose a threat to economic growth when they start coming down with tobacco-induced illnesses.
The activist also asked the Consumer Protection Council, CPC, and other relevant agencies of government to begin enforcing the nine provisions of the National
Tobacco Control, NTC, Act which does not require any law to be operationalised.
The nine provisions include a ban on selling of tobacco to persons below the age of 18 years , prohibition of sale of tobacco in certain public places and sale of cigarettes in single sticks among others.