Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) has cautioned those in tobacco business, particularly cigarette dealers to indicate graphic health warning signs on every packet.
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This, the agency said is in line with the 2015, 2019 Nigerian Tobacco Act, warning that defaulters would soon be made to face the wrath of the law.
FCCPC, Head, Surveillance and Enforcement Operation, Mr. Kennis Camillus Anyanwu, made the disclosure in Lagos when its enforcement team stormed some supermarkets and shops in Lagos on Wednesday.
Addressing the press during the exercise, Anyanwu said the team embarked on the exercise to monitor compliance, stressing that the directive of the law must be adhered to given the health danger of cigarette smoking.
He said the commission is aware of its enormous obligation towards consumers and is poised to ensuring that their rights are protected.
“We have passed the primary stage of just reporting that the federal ministry of health warns that smoking is dangerous. The new Act stipulates that graphic health warnings must be indicated on the packet and cigarette dealers are expected to comply or be made to face the music.
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Although he said that some of the offenders feigned ignorance of the tobacco act, he noted that more sensitisation effort on the hazards of tobacco would be carried out by different regulating agencies.
He said part of the purpose of the exercise was “to ascertain compliance and not to vilify, strangulate or punish offenders”.
According to him“Some claim that they do not know or aware of the new cigarette law, so we are at the same time creating awareness and after now offenders will no longer be excused. Ignorance is not excuse in law”
“We intend to get desk officers of the commission (FCCPC) in all the 774 local government areas of the country. Rome was not built in a day; we will get there with greater commitment”.
Also speaking during the interaction with journalists, Project Officer, Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), Chibuike Okorie, said the agency would no longer accept excuses, urging cigarette dealers, sellers etc, to comply with the provision of the new tobacco act.
“We are driving down the gospel that tobacco smoking is dangerous and a killer. There must be compliance, obedience to the tobacco act and we can no longer compromise on this. We need serious collaboration of stakeholders to win this war” he noted.