According to a report by Leadership on December 25th, experts are urging Nigeria to adopt Sweden’s smoke-free tobacco economy. They are urging economic managers to swiftly implement policies that reduce the dangers of tobacco and take measures to address the significant economic losses caused by combustible cigarettes in Nigeria.
These stakeholders made a call at the roundtable forum event themed “Reducing the Impact of Smoking Cessation Strategies” held in Lagos, the capital of Nigeria.
In his speech, Nnanyelugo Ike-Muonso, the President of consulting firm ValueFronteira Limited, stated that smoking remains a public health issue in Nigeria.
He confirmed that adopting the Swedish blueprint to achieve a smoke-free nation and relevant tobacco harm reduction policies is not just an option, but also a responsibility towards Nigerian citizens and future generations.
He said, “Sweden is on track to become the first “smoke-free” country in Europe, with smoking rates expected to drop below 5% in the coming months. The country’s strategy holds the potential to save the lives of 15.5 million people in the next decade.”
Mallam Mungo explained that in order to successfully advance the implementation of Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) policies, Nigeria must develop a comprehensive THR policy framework that aligns with global best practices and is suitable for Nigeria’s unique circumstances.
He urged for the widespread implementation of promotional activities to educate citizens, healthcare professionals, and decision-makers about the benefits of THR.
During this period, Professor Adi Bongo, an economics professor at Lagos Business School, stated, “Around 50% of Nigerians live below the poverty line, and while people perceive smoking as a non-issue, it is, in fact, a significant problem.”
He emphasized that tax policies such as raising consumption tax are not solutions for reducing smoking; instead, they will result in an increase due to the addictive nature of smoking.