The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) has reiterated their stance to ban the sale of cigarettes in single sticks rather than whole packets when the revised 2019 National Control Regulations take effect later this year.
The law which is currently under suspension contains several, amendments, provisions and tweaks favouring tobacco companies including smoke free zones, tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, packaging and labelling, prevention of tobacco industry interference and product disclosure.
The smoke free places will lighten the water-tight prohibition of smoking in public places, a crime punishable by a fine of not less than ₦200 and not exceeding ₦1000. Alternatively, trangressor could be remanded in prison for a period no less than a month and not exceeding two years for violation.
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Other amendments restricts sales via the Internet, vending machines or to persons under the age of 18.
“The National Tobacco Control Act of 2015 created the National Control Regulations of 2019 and the regulation has a moratorium before enforcement starts. One of the key enforcement areas is packaging that will make it more difficult to sell by the sticks.” The Executive Vice Chairman of the commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja On Sunday
“We are working to make sure that we can prohibit sale by the sticks quickly and doing some small enforcement like we have done.
“The big thing is walking through to make sure that the commencement date of the enforcement of the regulation that makes packaging in such a way that it cannot be broken to be resold in sticks, that is what we are focusing on right now.
“The regulations were supposed to become effective in 18 months starting from January 2020. Once the regulation becomes effective, you will see that packaging from tobacco companies will now be sealed and tamper proof.
“Once it is tamper-proof, anybody who is selling by the sticks at that point is violating the law in a significant manner and we will have absolutely no apologies in confiscating the products on their shelves.”
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