The Federal Government, through the Ministry of Health, has launched a campaign to ban smoking in public places including motor parks, shopping malls and health care centres.
In a communiqué, the ministry said according to Section 9 of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Act 2015, once convicted, offenders are liable to a fine of at least N50, 000 and/or six months’ imprisonment.
Tagged the Clean Air Campaign, the ministry said the law would henceforth be taken seriously in a bid to protect and promote the citizens’ right to health, life, physical integrity and safety.
To carry out the campaign successfully, the ministry also said it was being supported by the Cancer Society of Nigeria, World Health Organisation, ONE Campaign, Nigerian Centre for Disease Control, Civil Society Organisations and the Tobacco Free Kids based in Washington DC, United States.
The communiqué read, “The World Health Organisation estimates that worldwide, second-hand tobacco smoke is currently responsible for the deaths of about 600,000 people yearly, 80 per cent of which occur in low-income and middle-income countries like Nigeria.
“Smoking in public places is now banned in Nigeria. Section 9 of the Nigeria Tobacco Control Act 2015 stipulates that offenders, once convicted, are liable to a fine of not less than N50,000 or not less than six months’ imprisonment, or both.
“Public places where smoking is prohibited by law in Nigeria include: child care facilities, educational facilities, health care facilities, playgrounds/amusement parks, public parks (gardens), stadia, restaurants/bars, public transportation parks and plazas.
“The Federal Ministry of Health is committed to the fight to ensure a tobacco-free Nigeria, and will in the weeks and months ahead actively collaborate with law enforcement agencies to ensure enforcement of the Act, and with the National Assembly to ensure that necessary supporting regulation is passed.”