The Nigerian government has called for collaboration from the global community towards the promotion and protection of public health policies from commercial interests of tobacco companies.
Osagie Ehanire, the minister of state for health, while speaking Wednesday at the ongoing Eight Conference of Parties of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) holding in Geneva, Switzerland said that Nigeria has in the past few years made significant progress in tobacco control.
“Through multi-sectoral engagements involving government and civil society organisations, the Nigerian government has begun mass awareness campaigns on provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015, to create the enabling environment for enforcement,” he said.
“Nigeria is strongly desirous of protecting its citizens, particularly the youth from reckless access to tobacco products.
“We, therefore, adopted the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) directive on harmonisation of excise duty on tobacco products in Member States, and revised excise tax regime on tobacco products from 16 percent to 23.2 percent.
“This is to be further reviewed upwards over the next two years, as we work with our regional ECOWAS block, towards meeting the WHO recommended excise tax level corresponding to 70 percent of retail price of tobacco products.”
The minister said the Nigerian government had also reviewed the standards for cigarettes to include the complete ban on cigarettes with characterising flavour, including menthol.