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6-month imprisonment for smoking in unauthorised areas - FEC

09 April 2014, 21:37

Abuja - The Federal Executive Council (FEC) on Wednesday approved a new National Tobacco Control Bill 2014, which among others, prescribes six months jail term for smoking in non-designated places.

The Minister of Health, Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House.

Chukwu said that the Bill, which would be sent to the National Assembly for passage into law, prescribed stiff penalties for individuals and companies that violate tobacco control regulations.

He added that the Bill, drafted by the ministry in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, is specifically to control the dangerous effects of tobacco and to forestall tobacco manufacturers from turning the country to a dumping ground.

The Bill, he noted, ``is also in line with the 2004 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which the country signed in 2010. 

The health minister noted that the proposed Tobacco Law seeks to achieve 100 per cent tobacco-free environment in the country.

He said places which would cover land, rail, sea and air transportations, would be clearly classified as non-smoking areas ``and anyone who goes against it will be prosecuted.

“Advertisement is totally banned under this law. You cannot advertise tobacco product in any media under the law. Any form of advertisement is not permitted, either in broadcast media, outdoor, print, ward-to-ward and any form of advertisement is totally banned.

“The Bill is also looking at packaging. 50 per cent of the packaging will be to warn people about the dangerous effect of tobacco.

“Smuggling of the product to the country is also covered by the Bill.’’

Chukwu said that a fund to be known as Tobacco Control Fund would be set up, to be funded by federal and state governments and individuals.

He said the Bill also proposes to ban any form of corporate sponsorship by any tobacco company of any public event such as sports, seminar and so on, stressing that ``we will not accept gifts from any tobacco company. Gifts such as school building etc will not be taken.’’

The minister added that the Bill also proposes the setting up of a national committee that will monitor its implementation and ensure judicious use of the fund.

-   NAN

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