The Nigerian Senate has called on the Federal Ministries of Health, Education and Information to ensure the comprehensive prohibition of Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship such as cigarette advertisement within 100 metres of all schools.
The Senate’s resolution was sequel to a motion on “the Need to Immediately Ban Tobacco Companies from Targeting School Children in Nigeria” sponsored by Sen. Oluremi Tinubu (APC-Lagos), at plenary on Tuesday.
Other resolutions include that the Ministry of Health and other relevant enforcement agencies should ensure the “comprehensive prohibition of Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship; work with other agencies to ban advertisement and location of Point of Sales (POS) of tobacco products within 100m of all schools; create a framework for the monitoring of the implementation of the ban on single sticks and cigarette packs with less than 20 sticks as detailed in the National Tobacco Control Act 2018.
While speaking on the motion, Mrs. Tinubu expressed worry at a deliberate act by tobacco companies to position adverts and signs within 100 metres of schools to stimulate children and youth into early interest in the use of tobacco products.
She noted that a survey carried out by Nigeria Tobacco Research Group in five states across four geopolitical zones, unearthed the location of Tobacco Products Point of Sales within visible distance of schools.
“Several distances were being 100m or less away from schools.
“Some of the affected schools with regard to distance from tobacco products Point of Sales include Kings Secondary School, Agbanni Road, Enugu 37m; Mother Care International Nursery and Primary School, Nasarawa, 13m.”
Others were Danbo College, Challawa Road, Kaduna, 12m; lqraah Primary School, Ode-Aje, lbadan, 14m; Agidingbi Junior Grammar School, Lagos, 20m; Herbert Macaulay Primary School, Yaba, Lagos, 2m; and Aguda Community High School, Aguda-Surulere, Lagos, 10m.
She said that this was contrary to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the National Tobacco Control Act, 2018.
According to her, the Act is aimed at the prevention and substantial reduction of accessibility of tobacco and tobacco products to young people.
The motion was seconded by Sen. James Manager (PDP-Delta) and Sen. Buhari Abdulfatai (APC-Oyo).
In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Chief Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, said minors needed protection.
“They are not in a position to make informed decision. I believe that the Tobacco Control Act has made adequate provision on how to protect the younger ones against some of the smoking-related problems.”
He, thereafter, called on the ministry to ensure compliance with this law.