‘Graphic Warning’ Must Be Issued On Tobacco, Group Tells FG.
Health Surveillance Group Mandates FG To Enforce Graphic Health Warning On Smoking.
A health surveillance group has issued a ‘graphic’ warning directive on Tobacco. The name of the group is Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).
The Group, a non-governmental organization urged the Federal Government to adopt the directive.
The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission were tasked with this responsibility.
Speaking at a press briefing on Wednesday, the executive director of the group, Akinbode Oluwafemi explained the concept.
He said that ‘Graphic Warning’ must be boldly inscribed on the packs of tobacco products.
The ED of the group which is focused on accountability in the health sector said:
He said, “A text-only health warning must also be displayed on one of the lateral sides of the package. For cigarette cartons, text-only warnings are required to cover 50 per cent of the front and back surfaces.”
He explained that the new requirement replaces the former warning, which only required manufacturers to inscribe the message, “The Federal Ministry of Health warns that smokers are liable to die young”.
CAPPA’s executive director noted that the World Health Organisation recommended this.
He revealed that this was recommended under the Convention on Tobacco Control in Nigeria. He said the recommendation was ratified in 2004 and 2005.
Oluwafemi said that investigations revealed that non-compliance was high in Nigeria.
95 per cent of dealers have not complied with the regulation. There was also a 40 per cent non-compliance recorded on cigarettes.
“The CAPPA and NTCA team conducted the monitoring exercises in 13 states of the federation between September 2021 and March 2022.
“The exercise targeted shopping malls and open markets, and through the visits, we were able to confirm reports that the tobacco industry had saturated the markets with the products without the new warnings to weaken enforcement by the government.
“Our interaction with the retailers, kiosk owners and other categories of tobacco product sellers indicated that the level of awareness about the policy is still low,” Oluwafemi said.
He called on the federal government to heavily penalize defaulting tobacco manufacturers.
“Tobacco manufacturers who do not comply with the new directive on Graphic Health Warnings should be sanctioned as stated in Section 24 (2) of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015.”
“They should also be compelled to recall all products without the graphic health warnings still with retailers and replace them with products that are with graphic health warnings on them,” he said.
The health surveillance group acknowledged the effort of the FCCPC in enforcing the directive.
He, however, urged other agencies to do the same.
“Agencies like Standards Organisation of Nigeria in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of Health must also play their statutory roles in the enforcement of this life-saving policy,” the CAPPA boss added.
Source: PUNCH Health Wise