Magnus Eze, Enugu
The Nigeria Tobacco Control Group (NTCG) has described the smoking of shisha as an epidemic in Nigeria today that, if not controlled, would ruin the country’s youth population.
The group said that the substance contains cancer-causing toxins, adding that it is more dangerous than tobacco.
It appealed to the Consumer Protection Council (CPC) to control the sale of shisha and similar products online, adding that the products are illegal in Nigeria because they are flavoured and imported.
The group also tasked the management of tertiary institutions in the country to ensure the enforcement of the law prohibiting sale, consumption and promotion of tobacco on the campuses.
It further advised universities to set up proactive systems to monitor students, to know the prevailing trends, their likes and dislikes, including those things that are bound to cause pressure among students.
NTCG in addition called for the establishment of pressure valves in the universities as well as functional counselling and treatment centres.
The coordinator of the group, Dr Akin Adebiyi, made the call Thursday at the University of Nigeria, Enugu campus, during the presentation of research findings on tobacco advertising promotions and sponsorships violations of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015, in selected higher education institutions in Enugu.
Adebiyi described tobacco as the number one risk globally, disclosing that tobacco companies had cleverly deployed sponsorship of students’ social functions in hotels outside the campuses as a means of promoting their products.
“Tobacco is a gateway substance. So, if we don’t talk about tobacco use and control, we will give way for substance abuse. We must restrict tobacco smoking in public spaces. There should be warning signs everywhere on campus. It doesn’t call for draconian approach from the students’ affairs department,” Adebiyi stated.
He urged the institutions to say no to any form of funding from tobacco companies.
Daily Sun gathered that the study conducted in selected higher education institutions in Abuja, Lagos and Enugu, was to support and monitor the tobacco control act, to expose tobacco advertising promotions and sponsorships (TAPS) violations as well as advocate for the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015.