The Federal Ministry of Health says it is working with key stakeholders to ban flavoured tobacco, including Shisha to protect children from getting enticed with the product across the country.
Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made the remarks while briefing newsmen in commemoration of 2018 World No Tobacco Day on Monday.
He said that tobacco, whether Shisha, cigar or cigarette, was harmful to the health, adding that the ministry was working with key stakeholders toward an eventual ban of the product in the country.
Adewole added that people import tobacco under a different brand called Shisha, saying that flavoured tobacco was not acceptable in Nigeria.
Corroborating the position of the minister, the Director-General of Consumer Protection Council (CPC), Babatunde Irukera, said the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) was in charge of creating industrial standard of products in Nigeria.
He added that SON Technical Committee in respect of tobacco standard in the country placed Shisha in the class of any tobacco product, hence, it was not an illegal product now.
Mr Irukera said the ministry had developed a work plan on some provisions of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act which stakeholders could immediately implement before the approval of the NTC Regulations.
He explained that the work plan had outlined education, enforcement and monitoring for compliance, including the ban on sale of tobacco products to and by anyone below 18 years of age, among others
The minister said the 2018 World No Tobacco Day has “Tobacco and Heart Disease” as its theme and the slogan is “Tobacco Breaks the Heart – Choose Health, Not Tobacco”.
He added the theme and slogan highlighted the link between the use of tobacco products and heart and other cardiovascular diseases.
He said the theme called for increased awareness on the impact of tobacco use and exposure to second-hand smoke on cardiovascular health.
The 2018 World No Tobacco Day, therefore, provides Nigeria with the opportunity to make commitments to promote heart health by protecting people against the use of tobacco products.
Country Representative of World Health Organisation, Dr Wondi Alemu, said the 2018 World No Tobacco Day focused on raising awareness on the link between tobacco and cardiovascular diseases.
Alemu, who was represented by Dr Rex Mpazanje, said tobacco and cardiovascular diseases were the world’s leading causes of death.
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of cardiovascular diseases after high blood pressure, with up to half of all tobacco users dying prematurely from tobacco-related causes,” he said.
The country representative urged Federal Government to expedite action toward the passage of the regulation to enforce the National Tobacco Act 2015 and enforcement of some provisions of the Act.