Doctors under the Epidemiological Society of Nigeria (EPISON) have called for the complete ban on tobacco advertisements and sponsorship of sports.
In a Communique issued at the end of its 6th Annual Scientific Conference and general meeting, EPISON observed that the high rate of tobacco use, alcohol consumption, poor diet and sedentary lifestyle, especially among the youths, is worsening the landscape for non-communicable diseases.
The Conference also called for proper funding and strengthening of the National Biosafety Management Agency to enable it monitor all activities related to the GMO technology in Nigeria, to forestall unintended adverse consequences.
WHO’s report on the global tobacco epidemic 2011 shows that only 19 countries (representing just 6% of the world’s population) have reached the highest level of achievement in banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship. More than one third of countries have minimal or no restrictions at all.
Countries that are making strong progress in banning the last remaining forms of advertising include Albania, Brazil, Colombia, Ghana, Iran, Mauritius, Panama and Vietnam.
Tobacco kills up to half its users. By 2030, WHO estimates that tobacco will kill more than 8 million people every year, with four out of five of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries. Tobacco is a major risk factor for noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases.
To prevent millions of people from falling ill and dying from tobacco-related disease, several attempts have been made in Nigeria to stop the sales, marketing and consumption of tobacco products.
At the national level, the National Tobacco Control Bill, NTCB 2009, is a comprehensive law to regulate the manufacturing, advertising, distribution and consumption of tobacco products in Nigeria.
Despite all these laws and decrees, Nigerians still smoke at public places and there is not yet any court convictions and sentencing to deter the practice.
”We are going to ban all newspaper, radio, television and billboard advertising. We are going to ban smoking in all public places and transport.” Nigeria’s Health Minister, Olikoye Ransome-Kuti said in 1988.
In 2001, the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) announced some “control measures” in respect of advertising of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages. Among the measures are a ban on advertising or promotion of tobacco products on television, home videos and outdoor boards.
But tobacco and cigarettes are still being advertised in the media till today without convictions.