By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Nigerian Tobacco Control Research Group (NTCRG) has advocated the need to actively strengthen tobacco control by instituting strong policies and guidance that seek to insulate Nigerians, especially those in tertiary institutions from the activities and influence of the tobacco industry such as prohibiting advertisements, promotion and sponsorship in any form in which it was presented by the industry.
NTCRG recently made this known at the launch of a book that chronicled findings of a project conducted to monitor likely violations regarding Tobacco Advertisement, Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) in selected higher education institutions from 3 purposively selected states in Nigeria by a group of researchers at an event that held at the Merit House in Abuja Tuesday.
In his presentation at the event, Dr Akindele Adebiyi, National Coordinator of NTCRG, stated that findings from the research has shown that although some institution of higher learning in Nigeria has “high Institution policies on ensuring that their campuses are tobacco free”, tobacco control violation still exist in most of our higher institutions. He said the launch, therefore, is important because “We want whatever research we do to be backed by actionable activities.
According to Dr. Adebiyi, “the institutions that we surveyed actually have high institution policies on ensuring that their campuses are tobacco free-which the students can actually attest to. He said findings on the use of tobacco products of which cigarette are top on the list, follow by shisha, was being done by students in hiding which therefore shows that some institutions actually started out on the right part but need to do more ” he said.
“Out studies employed in depth interment, where we intern Arial key stakeholders at the management level to the institution and the students themselves.”
He also added that findings indicated that the perception exists that the decision to use tobacco product or not is left with individuals. According to him, this is a wrong narration we should begin to change because non-smokers are harmed when smoking takes place around them”
It was also seen that part of the place students smoke tobacco products was within their residences. Most of the students were also unaware that there is prohibition on the use of tobacco products at events”
the findings indicate the need for policies that will enable students not initiate (using tobacco products), and make those who are using tobacco to quit.”
He added that students must be informed that using tobacco products on campus is a crime;
There is need for institution to make students widely aware that any form of tobacco usage in the institution is against the law of the country. The Nigerian Tobacco Control Act stipulates that tobacco use should not happen anywhere in any primary, secondary or tertiary institutions.”
Earlier, He said institution that take such measure to curb tobacco usage would rid themselves of cost involved in managing health challenges associated with smoking at the institution clinic.
Also,In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, Adoyi Ofikwu who is also is a Deputy Director, Tertiary Education, Federal Ministry of Education thanked the group for the research and ongoing awareness and efforts to combat tobacco use in Nigeria and pledged the support of the ministry to the group.
In her presentation, one of the resource persons Dr Adesola Olumide stated that among other things the group wanted the research to focus on areas where not much has been done, so that we can upscale the implementation of tobacco control, ultimately protect the students and university from the harms of tobacco.