Minister of State for Health Dr. Osagie Ehanire has urged the global community to protect public health policies from the commercial interests of tobacco companies.
Ehanire spoke at the Eighth Conference of Parties of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) in Geneva, Switzerland.
He said Nigerian had made significant progress in tobacco control.
The minister said: “Through multi-sectoral engagements involving Government and Civil Society Organisations, the Nigerian government has begun mass awareness campaigns on provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015, to create the enabling environment for enforcement.
“Nigeria is strongly desirous of protecting its citizens, particularly the youths, from reckless access to tobacco products. We therefore adopted the regional Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) directive on harmonisation of excise duty on tobacco products in member states, and revised excise tax regime on tobacco products from 16 per cent to 23.2 per cent. This is to be further reviewed upwards over the next two years, as we work with our regional ECOWAS block, towards meeting the WHO recommended excise tax level corresponding to 70 per cent of retail price of tobacco products.
”The Nigerian government has reviewed the Standards for Cigarettes to include the complete ban on cigarettes with characterising flavour, including menthol. Nigeria ratified the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products. The instrument of accession will be finalised and deposited at the UN Headquarters imminently”.