By Emma Una, CALABAR
THE Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission ,PCC PC, has expressed concern over the high number of girls using shisha tobacco as stimulant in Cross River State
The PCCPC which carried out checks on tobacco shops and sensitisation exercise in Calabar and hinterlands of the state observed that the drug which is predominantly used by girls is in widespread use in places like Ikom, Ugep and Obubra in central parts of the state.
Speaking with newsmen after checks on cigarettes packs in shops and sales points, Mr Chibuike Nwokorie , Programme Officer with Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance said the drug is seen as trending lifestyle which is not harsh like other hard drugs but that such assumption is erroneous because it is actually harmful and addictive.
“A survey by our team across the state shows that those hooked on shisha see it as just a puff of smoke which does not affect thier organs but that is wrong because it is addictive and harmful; it is the gateway to other hard drugs and must be stopped immediately”
He said the sale of ground tobacco called snuff which is sold in little plastic cans is widespread in the state and such cans have no warning or pictorial signs on the health danger to users on the cans to caution users of the dangers of taking the snuff
“We have told them that this time we are only carrying out checks and sensitisation exercise but next time we will impound snuff and any other tobacco products we see on sale here which have no bold pictorial warnings on their packs or cans through which such tobacco is dispensed”.
Mr Nwokorie stated that most cigarette packs in the have bold warning pictures to depict the dangers tobacco inflicts in the body particularly the lungs and next year the pictures would be more graphic.
He said yearly, tobacco use is responsible for the death of over right million people around the world
“It has been established that tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable deaths globally and in Nigeria over 28,000 people die annually from tobacco use
“Nigeria is a party to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. Locally, the National Tobacco Control Act was enacted in 2015 to regulate the manufacture, importation, distribution and use of tobacco in the country. The primary purpose of this legislation is to reduce to the barest minimum the negative effects of tobacco on public health”
He cautioned that tobacco products sold in the country must display in their packaging 50% of the principal display area of the product’s packaging the dangers and health consequences of tobacco use.
“The picture used must be of the highest quality and must clearly depict the negative effects of tobacco on the health of smokers and those close to them. Graphics warnings have proven to be effective in causing cessation of tobacco use just as studies show graphic health warnings on tobacco products increase quit attempts by smokers or users of tobacco products”
He said the Federal Ministry of Health, Nigeria Customs, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, National Security and Civil Defence Corps, Nigeria Police have all been mandated to by the NTC Act to enforce the policy.
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of Vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.