Bill pro­poses N50,000 fine, jail sen­tence for smok­ers

Daily Trust - - NEWS - By Isi­aka Wak­ili NAN

The Federal Ex­ec­u­tive Coun­cil yes­ter­day ap­proved the Draft Tobacco Con­trol Bill 2014 that would sub­ject smok­ers to a N50,000 fine and six-month im­pris­on­ment.

Ad­dress­ing jour­nal­ists af­ter the FEC meet­ing, Health Min­is­ter Onye­buchi Chukwu said the pro­posed Na­tional Tobacco Con­trol Act was aimed at pro­tect­ing Nige­ri­ans against harm­ful ef­fects of tobacco.

He said tobacco causes cancer as well as re­s­pi­ra­tory and car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­eases.

The min­is­ter, who noted that cer­tain pub­lic places would be des­ig­nated non-smok­ing ar­eas, said when the bill be­comes law, any in­di­vid­ual caught smok­ing there would pay a N50,000 fine or com­bine it with a six month im­pris­on­ment.

He said any com­pany that al­lows its staff or vis­i­tors to smoke in a sim­i­lar area would be fined be­tween N1 mil­lion and N5 mil­lion, while its chief ex­ec­u­tive would be sen­tenced to two-year im­pris­on­ment.

“The re­spon­si­bil­ity, for in­stance, in a ho­tel, rests on the owner to clearly in­di­cate ar­eas that are non-smok­ing so that if you ever de­cide to go to a place that has been clearly des­ig­nated non­smok­ing area, you’ll be li­able to be­ing pros­e­cuted and then the law will take its course. The same thing (ap­plies) with modes of trans­porta­tion like land, rail­way, sea, air.”

The min­is­ter said; “advertisement (of tobacco) is to­tally banned un­der this law so you can­not just go and advertise.”

Any firm of advertisement is not per­mit­ted, ei­ther in broad­cast, print, out­door, he said.

The bill is also look­ing at pack­ag­ing of tobacco prod­ucts. Fifty per­cent of the pack­age is ex­pected to warn people about the use of tobacco.

Chukwu said the pro­vi­sions of the Tobacco Con­trol Act 2011 (as amended) passed by the Na­tional As­sem­bly were weak and the ex­ec­u­tive had re­solved to re-work it and trans­mit it to the leg­is­la­ture.

The min­is­ter, who hinted that Tobacco Con­trol Fund would be es­tab­lished, said the pro­posed law would ban ev­ery form of spon­sor­ship by any tobacco com­pany of any pub­lic event.

PHOTO

From left: Nasarawa State Gover­nor Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, flanked by U.S. Am­bas­sador to Nigeria Mr James En­twistle (left) and his wife Pamela dur­ing the en­voy’s visit to Lafia yes­ter­day.

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