By Tobias Lengnan Dapam
Civil Society Organisations have called on the federal government to intensify enforcement of graphic health warning on tobacco products.
Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, of
Corporate Accountability & Public
Participation Africa (CAPPA), said the policy indicated that graphic health warnings must henceforth be on the packs of tobacco products and must cover at least 50% of the front and back of the tobacco product package.
“A text-only health warning must also be displayed on one of the lateral sides of the package. For cigarette cartons, text-only warnings are required to cover 50% of the front and back surfaces. The size of the warnings will be rotated at least every 24 months and will be increased to 60% in June 2024.”
He said the new requirement replaces the former warning, which only required manufacturers to inscribe the message: “The Federal Ministry of Health warns that smokers are liable to die young”.
While commending the FCCPC enforcement of the Graphic Health Warnings policy, Akinbode urged them to spread their tentacles and not to concentrate on Abuja and Lagos alone.
“The exercise is still limited and should be simultaneous in other states of the federation.
“Tobacco manufacturers who do not comply with the new directive on
Graphic Health Warnings should be sanctioned as stated in Section 24 (2) of
the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015. They should also be compelled to
recall all products without the graphic health warnings still with retailers and
replace them with products that are with graphic health warnings on them.
“Need for sustained awareness creation and sensitization of retailers and
wholesalers on the new policy and its effect on public health.
“Need for continued education and inter-agency collaboration on
enforcement of the policy. The FCCPC has been at the fore of the
enforcement thus far. Other agencies of government like Standards
Organisation of Nigeria etc. in collaboration with the Federal Ministry of
Health must also play their statutory roles in the enforcement of this life-