Tobacco Control Committee Inaugurated

The Federal Minister of Health, Professor Isaac Adewole has promised Nigerians that the current administration will adopt all legal and administrative measures to ensure effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act.

Adewole made this remark in Abuja at the inauguration of the National Tobacco Control Committee (NATOCC) which he said, will play an effective role in “safeguarding and protecting the health of Nigerians from the risks posed by the use of tobacco and tobacco products”

The Committee headed by Professor Ukoli Onawefe of the University of Jos, will advise and make recommendations to the minister  on the development and implementation of tobacco control policies, strategies, plans, programmes and projects, in accordance with World Health Organisation – Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO- FCTC), its implementing guidelines and protocols.

Adewole said that there is no permissible limit for tobacco use in whichever method, form or disguise because of its harmful effect to health, and added that, tobacco, when used exactly as intended by the tobacco industry will maim and kill more than half of its users.

He revealed that globally, tobacco use is responsible for 6 million deaths through many medical conditions notably cardiovascular diseases, respiratory diseases, and cancers, and charged the committee to work assiduously to come up with a coordinated approach to protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians.

He said: “Tobacco has been red-flagged by both local and international health communities as a poisonous and highly addictive substance that requires urgent intervention. It is therefore imperative to double our efforts in a sustainable and well-coordinated approach to enable us protect the health and wellbeing of Nigerians.

The West Africa Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Campaign for Tobacco Control Free Kids (CTFK), a United States based organisation, Hilda Ochefu said the inauguration of the committee represented a bold step towards ensuring effective implementation of tobacco control measures in Nigeria.

Deputy Executive Director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), Akinbode Oluwafemi also expressed delight at the inauguration of the committee saying “with this move, the Federal Government is sending strong signals that it wants to take public health issues much more serious than we have ever seen”.

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