BREAKING : FG Bans Shisha Smoking In Public, Police To Commence Arrest Of Shisha Smokers

On Monday, June 4, the Nigerian government took a significant step in prioritizing public health by announcing the ban on the use of flavored tobacco, notably shisha, in public spaces. The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, made this declaration during the 2018 World No Tobacco Day celebration held in Abuja. This action was motivated by the alarming rise in tobacco-related deaths in Nigeria and worldwide.

During the event themed ‘Tobacco Breaks the Heart, Choose Health, Not Tobacco,’ Minister Adewole emphasized that evidence demonstrated a concerning trend: for every $1 gained from the tobacco business, approximately $3 was spent on healthcare costs. This served as a stern reminder of the immense health and economic burden caused by tobacco use.

To combat the tobacco epidemic, a comprehensive work plan was unveiled, focusing on the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act. The plan outlined educational initiatives, strict enforcement measures, and vigilant monitoring of compliance. Key aspects included banning the sale of tobacco products to and by individuals below 18 years old, prohibiting tobacco advertising and sponsorship, restricting smoking in public areas, and enforcing the sale of tobacco products in standardized quantities.

Furthermore, the Ministry of Health aimed to develop a detailed 5-year National Tobacco Control Strategic Plan to guide the nation in achieving complete tobacco control. Additionally, active participation in the review of the Nigeria Industrial Standard for tobacco products was highlighted, resulting in a ban on characterizing flavors and menthol in tobacco products.

Minister Adewole emphasized the need to protect children from being enticed by flavored tobacco products, reinforcing the ban on such products, including shisha. He urged enforcement agencies to intensify efforts to apprehend offenders.

Globally, tobacco use claimed over 7 million lives annually, with more than a billion smokers. Shockingly, 6 million deaths resulted directly from tobacco use, and nearly 900,000 were attributed to exposure to second-hand smoke. Particularly concerning was the fact that 80% of this burden was borne by low and middle-income countries, including Nigeria.

The minister revealed the tobacco industry’s deceptive strategies, where they disguised themselves as non-governmental organizations, attempting to establish partnerships under the guise of promoting a “Smoke-Free World.” He warned against such associations, urging all sectors of society to remain vigilant and uphold the government’s laws, regulations, and policies in the face of the tobacco industry’s commercial interests.

the Nigerian government’s firm stance against flavored tobacco products and their commitment to comprehensive tobacco control measures underscore their dedication to public health and a smoke-free future for the nation.