By Bashir Bello

KANO — The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, FCCPC in a surprise enforcement exercise across the city of Kano has threatened a total clamp down on business outlets selling tobacco products without graphic health warnings. 

The graphic health warning is a policy in the National Tobacco Control Act that was enacted in 2015 and requires that Tobacco products carry graphic or pictorial health warnings on at least 50% of their principal display area. The policy is important as it has been established to encourage tobacco users to quit dangerous habits and also discourage uptake by would-be users. 

Speaking with newsmen in Kano, the National Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA Programme officer, Chibuike Nwokorie, who monitored the exercise led by FCCPC, said many Tobacco companies are yet to comply with the policy in the state.

According to Nwokorie, hence the seizure of some of the samples by the FCCPC and sounding a word of warning to clamp down on defaulters should they continue to sell products without the graphic warnings.

Nwokorie decried the non-compliance to the policy in the state noting that the Tobacco companies despite the policy have continued to engage in illegal business.

Nwokorie stated, “In 2015, the National Tobacco Control Act (NTC Act, 2015) was signed into law, and between December 2021 and February 2022, the FCCPC  commenced enforcement in Abuja and Lagos, and now it has arrived in Kano for enforcement.

“While on the field for enforcement in Kano, a lot of cigarettes, and especially Shisha products are being sold without the graphics health warnings, this shows that the Tobacco Industry is deceiving Nigerians by making sure they comply with the law only in Abuja while in other states they are still conducting business as usual. 

“Unfortunately, most of the products we saw in the field in kano do not comply with the policy, they are still selling products that are illegal based on Nigerian law.

“Let us obey the law in Nigeria as we do in other countries, the policy is effective in many countries, there is no reason it should not work in Nigeria. The country gazetted the NTC Act in December 2019, to give bite the NTC Act, 2015” Nwokorie added.

Meanwhile, the enforcement team stormed several Tobacco stalls in supermarkets and business points and enlightened sellers on the law guiding the sale of Tobacco products.

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