By Mashe Umaru Gwamna
The Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) has called on the Nigerian government to swiftly place a ban on e-cigarettes, shisha and other so-called novel products from the tobacco industry in the wake of mounting deaths attributable to vaping across the globe.
In the United States alone,recently the Center for Disease Control and Prevention documented 29 deaths attributable to vaping and the outbreak of mysterious lung illnesses that have affected 1,299 persons.
It reported that the ages of those who died ranged from 17 to 75 years, and that many of those who became ill had vaped THC, some had used both THC and nicotine, and others report vaping only nicotine. In the United Kingdom a factory worker who died got pneumonia caused by oil from an e-cigarette in his lungs. Similar incidences are being documented across the globe.
In a statement issued in Lagos, ERA/FoEN described the situation as “horrific” warning that the Federal Government must not allow the deaths to start occurring in Nigeria before bringing its full hammer on e-cigarettes and other tobacco products currently being sold in the open markets and via internet in Nigeria.
ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said: “Once again we are vindicated on our aversion to so-called novel products that the tobacco merchants of death have been peddling as less-harmful, particularly in recent years. The Nigerian government must take the lead in Africa by banning e-cigarettes and other products now causing grievous harm to innocent and misled users”
“We knew the tobacco industry was packaging death in novelty when they started talking about e-cigarettes and other lethal innovation. It is only unfortunate that the youth are the guinea pig in this game of profits for the industry. That is why Nigeria must not wait any longer”
The ERA/FoEN boss extolled the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Council (FCCPC) for taking the lead in enforcing the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act and its Regulations, urging the agency to now extend its operations to online agencies that try to beat the law by marketing and even delivering shisha and e-cigarettes straight to the homes of consumers.
“The price of delay might be too dangerous for us all. It is time that the federal government bans e-cigarettes and other death conveying products that the tobacco industry has unleashed on the youths. Now is the time to act”, Oluwafemi insisted.