The Federal Government on Friday said the tax being paid on a packet of cigarette containing 20 sticks would increase from N20 to N40 this month. Speaking at an event in Abuja to mark the 2019 World No Tobacco Day, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health, Abdulaziz Abdullah, also said the National Assembly on May 28 approved the tobacco Regulation Act.
He said based on the Nigeria Global Youth Tobacco Survey conducted in 2008 at sub-national level, 15.4 per cent of pupils between 13 and 15 in the country were tobacco users, with 4.5 million adults found to be consumers of the product. According to him, a survey has shown that 16,100 persons die every year due to tobacco-related diseases in Nigeria. He said, “I am delighted to inform you that the long awaited Regulations to the Act which the National Tobacco Control Committee drafted and vetted by the ministry and submitted to the National Assembly through the Federal Executive Council has finally been approved by the National Assembly on May 28, 2019 in line with Section 39 of the Act,” he added. Meanwhile, despite the campaign against the consumption of tobacco, the number of Nigerians who smoke cigarettes presently stand at about 3.1 million, the Pediatric Association of Nigeria, has said. The organization put the daily number of Nigerian smokers at 2.4 million and warned that by 2030 it had been estimated that about eight million persons worldwide would die annually from tobacco use. The Technical Director of PAN and Chief Medical Director of Bingham University Teaching Hospital, Jos, Prof. Edwin Eseigbe, said while delivering a paper on Friday that smoking has a record of causing respiratory tract infections, decreased lung function, asthma attacks, ear infections and tooth decay. Others were sudden infant death syndrome, death from respiratory infection, asthma, cognitive and behavioral issues.