THE Federal Competition and Consumers Protection Commission (FCCPC) has cautioned dealers in tobacco products, especially cigarettes, to indicate graphic health warning signs on all packets.
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 Operations, Kennis Camillus Anyanwu, stated this when its enforcement team visited some supermarkets and shops in Lagos.
Anyanwu, who spoke with journalists during the enforcement, said the team embarked on the exercise to monitor compliance, stressing that the provisions of the law must be complied with to given the health dangers 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 with the law or be sanctioned.
Although he said some of the offenders feigned ignorance of the tobacco act, he noted that more sensitisation effort on the hazards of tobacco products would be carried out by different regulatory agencies.
He said part of the purpose of the exercise was “to ascertain compliance and not to vilify, strangulate or punish offenders.”
“Some claim that they are not 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 FCCPC in the 774 councils of the country. Rome was not built in a day; we will get there with greater commitment.”
Also speaking, Project Officer, Nigerian Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA), Chibuike Okorie, said the agency would no longer accept excuses, urging cigarette dealers and sellers among others, to comply with the provisions 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 said.