Ministry of Health, Security Agencies Enforce Tobacco Control Law in Abuja
Major supermarkets and lounges in the Federal Capital City were the target of an enforcement effort run by the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), the Nigerian Police Force, Management Sciences for Health (MSH), and other partners.
The areas visited by Mr. S. B. Gadzama, Director, Operations and Enforcement in NDLEA, the Chairman of the Taskforce Committee, were the Central Area of FCT, Wuse 2, and Wuse Zone 5 Abuja.
During this visit to Shop rite shopping mall, Silver Bird Building, and Zone 5 by Wadata Plaza, and H-Medix Wuse Zone 2, by Atiku Campaign office, off Diamond Bank junction some unauthorized and unlicensed products were removed from the shelves.
The burden and risks of tobacco use and exposure to tobacco smoke, as well as the provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019, were properly brought to the attention of facility managers and store managers.
All of the supermarkets we visited had unlicensed and illegal products like cigarettes (Davidoff Gold, Dunhill), cigars (Swisher Sweet Classic, Grapes Backwood authentic, Throwback Russian Cream), e-cigarettes/vapes (Liteza Grand Quadberry Ice, Nano Disposable-Ice watermelon, Nija Snow watermelon, and a variety of Myle products), flavors (Bela Ciao, Khaleej Mint), and other shisha products removed.
On the team were officers from the Federal Ministry of Health (FMOH), Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Environmental Health Council of Nigeria (EHCON), National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), and other stakeholders include MSH, Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), Development Initiative for Society Health (DISH), and Cedars Refuge Foundation.
The officials maintained that effective implementation is urgent because tobacco kills up to half of its users translating into over 8 million people each year.
The Gadzama-led team criticized the disastrous effects of tobacco in Nigeria alongside Silver Bird’s management and representatives from other cigarette-selling establishments.
Silver Bird’s management should enforce “No Smoking” signage to ensure compliance with the NTC Act 2015 and regulations 2019, which prohibit unauthorized products and promote smoke-free public places.
Project Specialist Peter Unekwu-Ojo emphasizes the importance of knowledge in law enforcement and compliance with the law, stating that illegal advertising, sponsorship, and promotion of tobacco products, as well as infringement of health warning labels, are all violations of the law.
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