Recently the United States Senate in an almost unanimous vote passed a legislation that gives the Food and Drug Administration the authority to regulate tobacco products as well as monitor its production, marketing and distribution.
In response to this historic feat, the President of the United States of America, barrack Obama said, “it will make history by giving the scientists and medial experts at the FDA the power to take sensible steps that will reduce tobacco’s harmful effects and prevent tobacco companies from marketing their products to children.” The bill which passed on a vote of 79-17 has the full backing of the American Cancer Society and the American Heart Association which have been on the fight for such a legislation for the past 15 years. Eventually, all the efforts at reducing the nicotine level in tobacco products have paid off with the passage of this bill.
According to Gregg Haifley, a Senior Associate of Federal Relations at the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, “this is an historic piece of public health legislation that will rein in a rogue industry that has basically operated unfettered in its production and marketing of poisonous deadly products.” The bill also requires manufacturers of tobacco products to register with the FDA and provide the FDA with a comprehensive, detailed list of all their products.
What is strikingly startling is the fact that more than 400,000 Americans die from tobacco-related diseases annually. Although we may not have accurate statistics on how many people die from it in Nigeria, I know, the situation in Nigeria is no less disturbing than the situation in America hence the need and urgency to do without delay, what the American congress has done.
Nigeria does not have the capacity in terms of health facilities to tackle adequately the menace posed by tobacco consumption and must save her ignorant smoker-citizens the pain of untimely death and cancer this product causes. The whole word is moving on the fast lane of checking and curbing avoidable deaths and we must not be left behind. There must be a vigorous campaign to sensitize the public on the dangers of smoking and consumption of other tobacco products and it is high time the government intervened in regulating the nicotine level of tobacco products manufactured in Nigeria or imported into Nigeria.
Now that the American Congress has taken this bold stop, tobacco manufacturers will begin to shift their market targets to the Third World countries an the only way to check the infiltration of our country with unwholesome tobacco products rejected in America is to adopt a similar measure.
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