Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has said the government would ensure effective implementation of anti-tobacco laws and policies in Nigeria.
Osinbajo made the promise at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, when he received leaders of anti-tobacco organisations.
He hinted that government would explore strategies on how to reduce tobacco consumption.
“The presidency will give every support that is needed to ensure that tobacco control laws and policies are effectively implemented in Nigeria,” he assured.
The Vice President reiterated government’s commitment to the reduction of tobacco use among citizens particularly exposure of underage children to cigarette smoking.
He expressed dismay over inadequate information about the dangers of smoking “which has made it difficult to convince many to quit the dangerous habit”.
According to the Vice President, we need the public behind us in this engagement and to change the public’s perception that smoking is a matter of choice.
“We also need to be more creative in passing our messages and in developing policies, about the matter,’’ he stated.
Osinbajo charged the organizations to work more closely with the youths to ensure that under-age initiation into smoking was reduced.
Leader of the delegation, Mr Akinbode Oluwafemi, urged the government to provide necessary support for the effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act (NTCA) 2015.
Oluwafemi is the Deputy Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN).
“We want the federal government to demonstrate that the era of impunity is over by bringing all tobacco companies flouting our laws to justice,’’ he said.
Mrs Hilda Ochefu of Washington-based Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), expressed their readiness to support Nigeria in implementing effective tax policy for the tobacco industry.
Experts have identified tobacco smoking as the major cause of respiratory problems, cancer and a killer.
Smoking in public places was banned in the country, but the implementation of the ban remained problematic.