On Friday, June 3, 2016, the Nigerian Heart Foundation (NHF) organized a Press Conference to commemorate World No Tobacco Day, 2016 themed ‘Get Ready for Plain Packaging’
Speaking at the event, the NHF Director, Tobacco Programme; Mr. Dapo Rotifa said’ as a strategic plan to reduce smoking among Nigerians, plain packaging should be introduced as a measure that restricts or prohibits use of logos, colors, brands and images or promotional information on tobacco packaging, other than brand product and names displayed in a standard color and font styles. He said information from the World Health Organization (WHO), has stressed on the need for effective health warnings on the cigarette pack, reduction in attractiveness of tobacco products, and the restriction of the use of tobacco packaging and labelling. He drew attention to how Nigeria became a signatory to WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in June 2004 and took a giant stride on March 15, 2011 when the Nigerian Senate passed a bill to regulate and control production, manufacture, sale, advertising, promotion and sponsorship and was signed into bill in November 2015 by the former President of Nigeria, Good luck Jonathan. Also Mr. Rotifa warned that smoking during pregnancy is dangerous to the health of unborn child as well as the pregnant mother.
In his remarks, Dr. Kingsley K. Akinroye, Executive Director NHF stated that prevalence of smoking among youths has gone up because when you look at our population, you will find that we have younger people than older ones; so when you draw that ladder you find that the number of people especially the youths are more into smoking. Buttressing this point, Dr. Akinroye said that Tobacco Industry enjoys a lot of promotion that attracts the youths and civil organizations who campaign against tobacco do not have enough support to fight them. Awareness, information dissemination and advocacy are effective tools available to CSOs and this is why NHF work with Researchers, Universities, Government and International Agencies on tobacco, Dr. Akinroye said.
The cigarettes manufacturers spend millions of Dollars on advertisements, making smoking look cool, elegant and a marker of success. Again they usually use music, film, television or even sports stars, and very beautiful, sexy and erotic ladies to send their outwardly innocent but inwardly deadly adverts and publicity and promotion campaigns across their target audience all over the world.
NHF used the occasion of the celebration of WNTD 2016 to call on the Federal government to fully implement the control Act passed by the 7th Parliament on March 15, 2011 and signed into law by previous Government in 2015.