The Senate Tuesday passed the Tobacco Control Bill 2015 with the provision of six months imprisonment for anyone caught smoking in public places.
The passage followed the adoption of the report of Senate Committee on Health presented by Senator Chris Ngige on behalf of the committee chairman, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa.
The committee, however, said it found that “if tobacco regulation becomes excessively restrictive and legitimate producers close shops, smokers would continue to smoke. Demand would then be met via smuggled cigarette thereby transferring jobs and revenue to other countries.”
It added: “There will no longer be industry operators such as producers to engage in terms of product quality and alternative products to regular cigarette and assist in the fighting against smuggling.” The committee also lamented that absence of adequate legal framework had greatly affected the nation’s ability to get required data base or actual numbers of smokers.
“The absence of adequate legal framework has greatly affected the nation in getting required data base or actual numbers of smokers/ statistics on smoking population as several millions of smokers in Nigeria and their numbers are yet to be ascertained because many cigarettes consumed in the country are smuggled.” The committee also noted that smokers have the right to make lifestyle choices but in excercising such right, they must not harm others.