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NGOs scuttle BAT's anti-smoking campaigns

21 August 2014, 10:05Henry Ifeanyi

Lagos - The British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) said some non-governmental organisations were frustrating its effort to educate law enforcement officers on Lagos’s new Anti Smoking Bill.

The legislation came into effect this past weekend.

Freddy Messanvi, Area Director, Corporate and Regulatory Affairs, BAT West Africa expressed “surprise” an unnamed NGO faulted its campaign regarding the law.

Also Read: Depression makes it harder to quit smoking

He instead appealed for assistance from such organisations to make the public aware of the law.

“This not a time to engage in industry de-normalisation tactics,” Messanyi said.

He said other issues requiring the urgent attention of all stakeholders included stemming the increasing tide of illegal trade within the sector and using the funding that the NGOs get from their international partners to build the capacity of agencies who work on tobacco control to ensure that there was compliance with stated laws and regulations.

Also Read: Your smoking could give your kid ADHD

He said that engagement with stakeholders such as the recent sensitisation event of officers of the Nigeria Police in Lagos was held in accordance with the World Health Organisation’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC, Article 5.3.

Messanyi said the sensitisation of the Police was done in public and the engagement was transparently conducted.

The company said that it would continue to support key stakeholders in the country to drive a fully compliant and well regulated tobacco sector in a transparent and responsible manner.

The antismoking law forbids smoking in public facilities as toilets, tertiary institutions, on public transport, shopping centres, stadia, and restaurants.
Owners of public spaces are required to display "NO SMOKING" signs on their premises.

Its enactment follows rising threats smoking pose to smokers and non-smokers alike.

– CAJ News


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