NIGERIA – The Federal government of Nigeria has begun implementing a new three-year tobacco tax regime for the period 2022-2024 involving cigarette taxes, tobacco control interventions, graphic health warnings and regulatory policies to reduce consumption.

Nigeria has raised the Ad Valorem tax rate on tobacco products from 20 per cent to 30 per cent as well as adjusted specific excise rates from N58 to N84 per pack of 20 sticks of cigarette which will further be increased to N94 per pack in 2023 and then N104 in 2024.

The Federal Ministry of Health has partnered with the National Tobacco Control Committee to conduct screening and issuance of an operational license to qualified major tobacco businesses for continued tobacco industry monitoring in compliance with Nigeria’s regulations for tobacco products.

Tobacco products contain toxins, cancer-causing agents and nicotine which can lead to extreme life-threatening health complications such as oral cancer and other types of cancer, risk of contracting cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cognitive impairment and infertility

Hon. Minister of State for Health Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora stressed that the tobacco industry must ensure that the unit packages of all their tobacco products have the approved text and graphic health warning message to increase public awareness about the dangers of tobacco consumption.

He pointed out that tobacco taxation and the percentage increase in tobacco price is an effective public health control measure against behavioral risk factors, noting that taxation and pricing has the capacity to reduce demand and consumption of tobacco products.

Quitting tobacco will also protect babies, children and women as they are the topmost victims of second-hand smoke. I urge citizens to report infringements on provisions of the National Tobacco Control Laws and Regulations to the Law Enforcement Agencies,” he advised.

Dr. Olorunnimbe said that higher cigarette prices will significantly influence cigarette purchase patterns, adding that it prompts tobacco users to switch expending their resources on tobacco products to healthy alternatives such as education, health and nutrition.

Moreover, Nigeria has developed the virtual Tobacco Control Data Initiative (TCDI) in close collaboration with the international non-profit organization Development Gateway, Inc to create a one-stop-shop for stakeholders and the public to access the relevant data on tobacco control in the country.

Dr. Olorunnimbe Mamora explained that the web-based dashboard is a centralized virtual platform that provides information on tobacco prevalence, taxation issues, harm, illicit trade, industry interference in tobacco consumption, the use of shisha among other parameters.

The dashboard can also be used as an advocacy tool for stakeholders in the tobacco community to make decisions and engage with policymakers on policy-related programmes in a bid to reduce the demand and consumption of tobacco products in the country.

In addition, Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance Chibuike Nwokorie assured that the national institution is ready to partner with the Federal Government on tobacco control, observing that tobacco not only affects personal health but also affects the entirety of human development.

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