The federal Government has announced plans to ban sale, distribution and consumption of tobacco products in public places.
Prof. Isaac Adewale, Health Minister, made this known in Abuja at a media briefing to mark this year’s world “No Tobacco Day”.
He said the ban will also include smoking in the premises of a child care facility; educational facility; and health care facility.
Other prohibited places for smoking are playgrounds; amusement parks; plazas; public parks; stadiums, public transport vehicles, restaurants, bars, or other public gathering spaces.
According to Adewale, the government would prosecute owners or managers of any of the places listed who permits or encourages or fails the act.
The Minister said tobacco is currently responsible for the death of about 6 million people annually across the world with 80% of these deaths occurring in low and middle-income countries like Nigeria.
“This includes about 600,000 people who are also estimated to die from the effects of second-hand smoke. Many of these deaths occur prematurely.” he noted.
He added that the government, in its fight against tobacco, has inaugurated the National Tobacco Control Committee, NATOCC.
The committee is expected to produce a draft of the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2017 which would be sent to the National Assembly for approval.
By Bright Bassey