By Ahmed Ahmed
An NGO, Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) has called on Bauchi state government and Stakeholders to increase tax on tobacco, Shisa among others, to reduce the health hazards associated with cigarette smoking in the state.
The Executive Director, CISLAC Mal.Auwal Rafsanjani made the call at the roundtable meeting on Tobacco Tax Advocacy in Nigeria on Wednesday in Bauchi.
Represented by Mr Murtala Mohammed of CISLAC urged all relevant tax and regulatory agencies and stakeholders to step up preventive and control measures, especially through the tax regime on tobacco consumption in the state.
He said the programme was supported by Tax Justice Network Africa (TJNA), and said if tax on tobacco was increased, it would also help to boost revenue in the state.
Mr Solomon Adoga, CICLAC programme officer said that the Nigeria Tobacco Regulation Control (NTRC) Act 2015 and Nigeria Tobacco Regulation 2019 should be optimally implemented in conjunction with advocacy engagement through the efforts of the CSOs and the Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs).
“Tobacco has a devastating effect on the health of citizens and it is classified as luxury goods which should be taxed.
“The increase in tax will also be an avenue to generate revenue for the for the state this is how many countries operate because consumption of tobacco is a luxury and not a necessity,”
He also called on the state government to engage in a robust track and trace system that would curb illicit tobacco flow into the market.
“Citizens will like to know which tobacco products that have paid the right kind of tax duties, know where these products are coming from and where they are heading to,” he added.
He further ascertained that tobacco smoking induces a poverty cycle in the household and by extension to the society.
Adoga said that research revealed that 69 per-cent of the toxic chemicals in tobacco smoke cause various cancers and other chronic diseases.
“Nicotine is the addictive substance in tobacco,when you inhale tobacco smoke, the nicotine substance in tobacco flows into your bloodstream, to your brain which induces pleasurable feelings.
In a remark, the Speaker Bauchi State House of Assembly Abubakar Sulaiman has expressed readiness to promulgate a law that would control tobacco smoking in the state.
He said rather than impose an outright ban on the smoking of cigarettes, the law would discourage the use of such products
Sulaiman said the dangers associated with smoking cannot be overemphasized and the tragedy here is that those at risk are not just those who smoke,
“But also those around them, their loved ones, their families, neighbors and friends.
“It is important that we regulate smoking and other matters related to tobacco manufacturing and sales.
“We will provide laws that will protect our people from the harmful effects of smoking,” he said.
The speaker however urged the Civil Society Organizations, and CIvil Society legislative Advocacy Center (CISLAC) to hasten submission of the draft on tobacco control to the assembly.