The counterproductivity of a stagnant tobacco tax on national tobacco control efforts in Nigeria
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TaBHealth Initiative, Nigeria
University of Ibadan, Nigeria
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A136
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Tobacco consumption is very injurious to the health and wellbeing of people. This is because both passive and active smokers bear disproportionate burden of smoking. Nigeria is the most populous nation in Africa with youths accounting for about 60% of the population. The rate of tobacco consumption in Nigeria is disturbing. An estimated 4.5 million people are addicted to tobacco in Nigeria. Nigerians spend about NGN 89 billion on tobacco annually. However, there are regional difference in the consumption of tobacco in Nigeria. South Eastern Nigeria has the highest incidence of smokeless tobacco usage while Northern Nigeria has the highest tobacco smokers.

Available statistics, reveal youths are the highest consumers of tobacco in Nigeria accounting for 15.4percent of national tobacco consumption. The Nigerian government recently formulated a policy to control consumption of tobacco in Nigeria. The policy states that citizens can only consume certain amount of cigarette otherwise it will not be sold to them.

This policy will be counterproductive as it will expand consumption for tobacco consumers. Furthermore, tobacco tax is significantly lower in Nigeria than elsewhere. Therefore, tobacco companies in Africa post high profits even when other markets are shrinking due to the favourable conditions in Nigeria is not far-fetched.

This paper therefore recommends that government should be more stringent in the implementation of existing anti-tobacco legislations especially increasing tobacco tax.

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