FCCPC visits cigarette dealers in Lagos, insists on display of graphic health warning

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FCCPC officials in Lagos

FCCPC officials in one of the supermarkets at Ojodu, Lagos on Wednesday March 2, 2022. Photo: Val Amanze

By Valentine Amanze

Nigerian government has intensified its efforts to end smoke / cigarette-related diseases in the country by taking the campaign to shops and supermarkets.

On Wednesday March 2, 2022, a team from the Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) stormed some supermarkets in Lagos to ensure compliance to the nation’s tobacco laws.

At the Ojodu area of Lagos, the agency warned those in tobacco business, particularly cigarette dealers to indicate graphic health warning signs on every packet.

It said that the measure was in compliance with the 2015, 2019 Nigerian Tobacco Act, warning that defaulters would be punished.

FCCPC, Head, Surveillance and Enforcement Operation, Mr. Canice Camillus Anyanwu, told Nigeria News Flight that the surprise visit to the shops and supermarkets was a continous exercise to

monitor compliance, stressing that the directive of the law must be adhered to because of the health danger of cigarette smoking.

Anyanwu further said that the commission was aware of its obligation towards consumers and was poised to ensuring that their rights were protected.

His words: “We have passed the primary stage of just reporting that the Federal Ministry of Health warns that smoking is dangerous. The new Act stipulates that graphic health warnings must be indicated on the packet and cigarette dealers are expected to comply or be made to face the music.”

Stressing that some of the offenders feigned ignorance of the Tobacco Act, Anyanwu assured that more sensitisation effort on the hazards of tobacco consumption would be carried out by different regulating agencies.

According to him, part of the exercise was to ascertain compliance and not to vilify, strangulate or punish offenders.

“Some claim that they do not know or aware of the new cigarette law. So we are at the sametime creating awareness; and after now, offenders will no longer be excused. Ignorance is not excuse in law.

“We intend to get desk officers of the commission (FCCPC) in all the 774 local government areas of the country. Rome was not built in a day; we will get there with greater commitment,” he said.

Also, the Project Officer, Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), Mr. Chibuike Okorie, disclosed that the agency would no longer accept excuses, while urging cigarette dealers, and sellers to comply with the provision of the new Tobacco Act.

“We are driving down the gospel that tobacco smoking is dangerous and a killer. There must be compliance, obedience to the Tobacco Act and we can no longer compromise on this.

“We need serious collaboration of stakeholders to win this war,” he said.

valoa2000@yahoo.com     

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