Don to FG: Fully implement tobacco control law to discourage smoking in Nigeria

...wants combination of pictorial/text health warnings on cigarette packs

Dr. Ukam Ngwu

A Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Cross River University of Technology, CRUTECH, Dr. Ukam Ngwu has called on the Federal Ministry of Health to fully implement the tobacco control law to discourage smoking in Nigeria 

He said that the federal government should consider urgent introduction and implementation of  pictorial / text combined health warnings on cigarette packs and other tobacco products nationwide in line with global best practices.

Ukam maintained that rotational pictures or graphics depicting the dangers of smoking and different health complications with tobacco use will more effectively communicate and discourage smoking in the country more than "the current ineffective Text-Only warnings in use".

Ukam, a widely published Communication Scholar who is also a Lawyer is a Health and Development Communication researcher with more than 10 Journal articles in the areas to his name.

He lamented that the Text-Only warnings on cigarette packs despite the increase in cardiovascular, lung and respiratory diseases and several types of cancers linked to tobacco use in the country was ineffective as such the need to add pictures to break the literacy barrier.

According to him, "I recently defended my PhD in Mass Communication at the University of Uyo and my research was on the 'Influence of Cigarette Packs Health Warnings on Residents of Cross State'

"I was surprised to discover that all cigarette packages in use in the study area were having plain texted anti-smoking warnings and did not accommodate large illiterate smoking population especially as the state was considered one of the educational less developed states in Nigeria. 

"More disturbing was the inclusion of other captivating and smoking encouraging words by cigarette manufacturers on the packs like: 'Menthol Boost', 'Boost the Experience', 'Taste the Extra Menthol, Experience the unique rich and smooth taste of Rothmans. True to our highest quality standards for more than 125 years', etc which negates the intention of policy makers, creates conflict situation and dissonance among smokers, as such undermining and posing a great threat to the anti-smoking fight in the country".

He decried the country's backwardness in efforts to dissuade and reduce tobacco use as well as exposure to same through second-hand smoking as compared to other climes like Canada, USA, India etc. 
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