The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC) says the commission will protect the interests of people especially minors in its enforcement of the National Tobacco Control Act.
The Director-General of the commission, Mr Babatunde Irukera, who stated this at the News Agency of Nigeria forum in Abuja on Sunday, said the commission was sensitive to the plight of minors whose family members were involved in the habit of smoking.
“I firmly believe that I have a responsibility to protect the choices people make. And so, even smokers are consumers who warrant some level of protection. However, I think the science is very clear.
“There is global consensus about the risks to health pre-associated with tobacco consumption and so, I always say that even the smokers, and we have the responsibility to protect and must make sure that they are engaging in the habit based on an informed decision.
“And their own liberties and prerogatives and discretion end where it potentially infringes the rights of others and the science is also very clear that second hand tobacco smoke is harmful.
“We will make sure that they engage in the habit in a manner that does not endanger others in the society including members of their families because minors are involved. We owe more sensitive responsibility to make sure that even children of smokers are protected from the potential harm associated with their parents’ choices,’’ he said.
Irukera noted that the commission would soon commence its enforcement on the sale of sticks of cigarette which was one of the key access control measures.
He said that the delay on the enforcement was to ensure that producers, importers and distributors of the cigarettes, distributed their products in a way that was not in violation of the law.
The director-general, who disclosed that the commission had improved its enforcement drive, called on citizens to demand and insist on their rights and involve the regulator in the event of abuse.
According to him, the most important thing I think people need to know is that the services you pay for or the things you pay for are not a favour.
“Service providers and those who sell things to you owe you an obligation,’’ he said.