The Federal Government in collaboration with Development Gateway on Tuesday launched the Tobacco Control Data Initiative dashboard for validated information on tobacco control.
Speaking at the launch in Abuja, the Minister of State for Health, Dr. Olorunimbe Mamora, said the ministry in partnership with Development Gateway developed the dashboard in commemoration of the 2022 World No Tobacco Day that is themed ‘Tobacco: A threat to our environment’.
The virtual dashboard creates is a one-stop-shop that would allow stakeholders and the public to access the relevant and up-to-date data on tobacco control in the country.
Speaking, Dr. Mamora said the Federal Government has commenced the implementation of a new tobacco tax regime.
He said “The Federal Government of Nigeria, with effect from 1st of June, 2022, commenced the implementation of a new three-year tobacco tax regime which will end in 2024.
“This new regime increased the Ad Valorem tax rate from 20 per cent to 30 per cent.
“In addition to the 30 per cent Ad Valorem; a specific excise rate has been increased from N58 to N84 per pack of 20 sticks of cigarette and this will further be increased to N94 per pack in 2023 and then N104 in 2024.
“Also, shisha is now taxed at the rate of N3,000 per litre and N1,000 per kilogram and this will be increased yearly by N500.
“This pro-health tax is an effective public health control measure against behavioural risk factors as it has the capacity to reduce demand and consumption of tobacco products. It also prompts tobacco users to switch expending their resources on tobacco products to healthy alternatives such as education, health, nutrition, etc.
“In compliance with the National Tobacco Control Act of 2015 and regulations 2019, the ministry with the support from the National Tobacco Control Committee has commenced screening and issuance of an operational licence to qualify major tobacco businesses in Nigeria with a view to profiling and monitoring tobacco industry activities.”
Lamenting the damages of tobacco to the environment, the minister said it contributes grossly to global warming.
“Beyond the environment, tobacco use including exposure to second-hand smoke has contributed to 12 per cent of all deaths from heart disease and it’s the second leading cause of cardiovascular disease, second only to high blood pressure.
“While these numbers are bad for tobacco users, it is important to remember that nearly 900,000 people are killed by breathing in second-hand smoke.
“The result also found high and significant exposure to second-hand smoke during these various visits to public places in the prevalence of 82 per cent in bars and nightclubs, 36.3 per cent in coffee shops, 22.3 per cent in universities, and 29.3 percent in restaurants,” he noted.
Speaking on the newly launched Nigeria’s Tobacco Control Data Initiative virtual dashboard, the Country Lead for the TCDI, Seember Alli said the dashboard is a one-stop-shop for validated information on tobacco control.
“This is spread across six things which are prevalence rate, tobacco harm, taxation, illicit trade, industry interference, and shisha use.
“Currently, we have three things developed which are prevalence, tobacco harm, and taxation. So, illicit trade and industry interference will come subsequently.
“The idea for this dashboard is that there is a lot of data on tobacco control spread across different places, some are housed in silos and there is a need for where all the tobacco information is currently validated and positioned for people to access information for advocacy and policy-related programmes,” Alli said
Also speaking, the project officer with the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, Chibuike Nwokorie said the alliance is ready to partner with the Federal Government on tobacco control.
“We have seen over the years that there are no health benefits to tobacco, from farming to consumption.
“This year’s theme is so apt, it’s not just talking about how it affects our health but how it affects the entirety of human development.
“As an alliance, we are ready to partner with the ministry to make sure that tobacco is properly controlled as done in other countries,” he said.
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