Cigarettes packs to carry warning pictures soon says Minister

The Minister of Health, Prof. Isaac Adewole, has said, packets of cigarettes will soon carry strong pictorial messages reflecting the dangers and health challenges of smoking.

Adewole disclosed this on Monday during an event organized by the ministry to commemorate this year’s ‘World No Tobacco Day’ in Abuja.

He said the warning pictures would replace the present message that says ‘Federal Ministry of Health warns that smokers are liable to die young’.

According to him, President Muhammadu Buhari, has approved the recent tax increase on tobacco products following discussions with his ministry and with the support from the National Tobacco Control Committee, Civil Society Organizations, and Tobacco Taxation Technical Working Group.

Adewole revealed that the growth of smokers in Nigeria is on the increase due to the cheapness of tobacco, noting that with the increase, the government hopes to curb excessive smoking amongst Nigerians.

He said the new rate came into effect yesterday. “It is a tax increase of N20 per pack of 20 sticks of cigarettes; this would be raised to N40 per pack in 2019 and subsequently, N58 per pack in 2020.”

Prof Adewole added that though the tax increase is below the ECOWAS tax directive of at least 50% ad valorem plus USD 0.02 per stick of cigarette, he believes that President Buhari will lead ECOWAS in implementing the directive soon to move Nigeria near the WHO recommended tax increase that is equivalent to 70% of retail price of tobacco products.

He said Nigeria is on its way to ratifying the Protocol to Eliminate Illicit Trade in Tobacco Products saying the memorandum on the protocol was approved by the Federal Executive Council on the May 23.

Highlights of the event was the launch of the work plan for the implementation of activities leading to a tobacco free Nigeria, which was developed by the Federal Ministry of Health with support from the Nigeria Tobacco Alliance (NTCA).


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