Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has lamented inadequate information about the dangers of smoking “which has made it difficult to convince many to quit the dangerous habit.”
Osinbajo who spoke at the Presidential Villa yesterday while receiving leaders of anti-tobacco Non-Governmental Organisations in the country, also reiterated government’s commitment to the reduction of tobacco use among citizens particularly exposure of underage children to smoking.
“We need the public behind us in this engagement. We need to change the public perception that smoking is a matter of choice. We also need to be more creative in passing our messages and in developing policies,” the vice president said.
He added that government is working on strategies on how to reduce tobacco consumption, assuring that “The presidency will give every support that is needed to ensure that tobacco control laws and policies are effectively implemented in Nigeria.”
Osinbajo charged the NGOs to work more closely with youths to ensure that under-age initiation into smoking is reduced in the country.
Leader of the delegation, Akinbode Oluwafemi , who is also the deputy director of Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria urged the Federal Government to provide all the necessary support for the effective implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015.
“We want the Federal Government to demonstrate that the era of impunity is over by bringing all tobacco companies flouting our laws to justice,’’ he said.
Also speaking at the meeting, Hilda Ochefu of the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, a Washington-based NGO, expressed her group’s readiness to support Nigeria in implementing effective tax policy for the tobacco industry.