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Nigeria Considers Tough Tobacco Control Legislation
Date : 17 August 2009

The Nigerian parliament is debating sweeping new tobacco control legislation in a bid to break the growing tobacco addiction in the country. The bill has strong backing from anti-tobacco groups and health organisations. If passed, this could be the biggest tobacco crackdown in the history of Nigeria.

Individual cigarettes sell for as little as seven cents each, and analysts fear that tobacco use in Nigeria, Africa's most populous nation of 140 million people, could continue to rise.

The Nigerian government has withdrawn its support and filed a $45-billion suit against tobacco companies for allegedly targeting young Nigerians.

"Our concern is that, if tobacco growing is banned without any alternatives - and I must mention quickly that we don't have any industry in Okeogu area, nothing other than this tobacco growing - we are concerned that without any alternatives, we will be the ones to bear the brunt," said Okeke Abiola. "For instance, if tobacco growing is banned, instantly 300,000 farmers will be affected."

The World Health Organization says more than 80 percent of tobacco deaths will be in developing countries by 2030.


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