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Tobacco: FCCPC Begins Enforcement Of Graphic Health Warnings In Abuja

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ABUJA – Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) on Wednesday commenced enforcement of graphic health warnings on tobacco products across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Abuja.

Speaking at the sidelines of the exercise at the Utako Market, in Abuja Municipal Area Council (AMAC), Akoji William Achimugu, Assistant Director, Legal Services, PCCPC, who led the team of agency’s officials, in company of the Nigerian Police Personnels, Nigerian Securities and Civil Defence Corps personnel, said the exercise is pursuant to the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act, 2015, section 20, and the regulations made pursuant to that, the Nigerian Tobacco Control Regulations 2019, that provides for graphic representation and health warnings to cover at least 50% of the packaging of any tobacco product.

According to him, to be in compliance tobacco labels must have a graphic picture and also a graphic warning which must cover at least 50% both the outer and inner packaging of tobacco products.

He noted that the Act provided for compliance to begin by June 2021, but a 150 days grace period be allowed before enforcement after much consultations, stressing that the grace period ended November this year.

“Now that it has ended and because it has a direct correlation with the health of the nation we decided that it is important that we begin to do initial compliance, and full enforcement as time goes on” he said.

Achimugu said in every 10 brands of cigarettes checked about three violated the regulations either by not making the warnings bold enough to the stipulated size or not presenting the warnings at all.

He said those found without compliance would be confiscated and fine imposed on the dealers accordingly as the Act provided.

Comrade Awudu Mariye, a shop owner at Utako Market, in Abuja Municipal Area Council
(AMAC), said the exercise was timely because the public health is important.

He said henceforth any cigarette that does not have the required labeling can not find its way into his shop.

From their visit I have learnt that there are prescribed graphic presentations required on cigarettes labels before they are allowed to be sold in the market. Honestly, before now, I didn’t know about this, but with this visit I will stop selling any cigarette that did not meet the graphic labeling requirements because health is very important.

Source: Independent Newspaper Nigeria

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