Home » How Tobacco Use Threatens Nigeria’s Progress on Sustainable Development Goals

How Tobacco Use Threatens Nigeria’s Progress on Sustainable Development Goals

Civil society group calls for more funding and enforcement of tobacco control policies

by Motoni Olodun

Tobacco use and abuse in Nigeria is undermining the country’s efforts to achieve some key aspects of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), according to a civil society group. The Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) said that tobacco consumption has negative impacts on health, the environment, and the economy and called for more funding and enforcement of tobacco control policies.

The NTCA, which is a network of organizations and individuals working to reduce tobacco use in Nigeria, made this statement at a briefing on ‘Effective Tobacco Control Funding in Nigeria’ on Friday in Abuja. The briefing was part of the activities to mark World Heart Day, which is observed on September 29 every year.

Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Chairman of NTCA, emphasized that tobacco consumption hinders progress towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly Goal 3, which is centered on ensuring healthy lives and promoting well-being for everyone regardless of age. He pointed out that tobacco is a primary risk factor for cardiovascular diseases, the top causes of global death and disability.

Furthermore, Oluwafemi shed light on the fact that tobacco consumption also adversely affects other SDGs. These include Goal 11, which is related to sustainable cities and communities; Goal 12, which focuses on responsible consumption and production; and Goals 14 and 15, which revolve around life below water and on land, respectively. He drew attention to the environmental repercussions stemming from tobacco farming, production, and waste, coupled with the financial strains caused by healthcare expenses and lost productivity.

Oluwafemi expressed concern over Nigeria’s 50% budget cut for tobacco control in 2023, which decreased from N9.4 million in 2022 to N4.7 million. He stressed that this allocated budget is inadequate to implement the National Tobacco Control Act of 2015 effectively, a pivotal piece of legislation governing tobacco’s production, marketing, and consumption in the country.

As discussions for the 2024 Appropriation Bill approach, Oluwafemi remains hopeful that the National Assembly will prioritize and augment the funding for tobacco control. Given the myriad issues resulting from tobacco use in Nigeria, he championed a significant budgetary increase to address them adeptly.

He further urged the government to expedite the process of releasing the regulations required for the Act’s activation, a process that has faced over six years of delays. These much-needed regulations provide a detailed structure for the successful enforcement of the Act, including public smoking prohibitions, a ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorships, and compulsory health warnings on tobacco products.

Oluwafemi lauded the Federal Ministry of Health for its persistent endeavors in framing and executing tobacco control measures in Nigeria. He also acknowledged the invaluable contributions of partners such as the WHO, CTFK, and Bloomberg Philanthropies, as well as the media and other key players, for heightening awareness and advocating for tobacco control measures.

Calling on Nigerians to join the fight against tobacco wholeheartedly, he underlined the significance of endorsing state-led initiatives that aim to protect public health and achieve the SDGs. In conclusion, Oluwafemi highlighted the essence of reducing tobacco intake to preserve lives and uplift Nigerians’ overall health and well-being.

Source: Daily Post


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