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Tobacco Firms can be chased Out in Nigeria

The Nigerian government has declared it has an intention to ban smoking in public places in Nigeria's capital territory as it is in of innumerous low suits against tobacco companies British American Tobacco and Philip Morris.

The Government has also said it is planned to issue new health regulations which would control tobacco production and prevent tobacco and cigarettes companies from penetrating the market.

The health minister and the head of the National Agency for Food, Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), are going to introduce stricter regulations and an eventual final to the sale of all tobacco products on the territory of the country.

In hope of the production and sales of cigarettes' reduction a broad anti-smoking campaign has emerged.

The campaign is well-timed as smoking in Nigeria heightens. Twenty years ago, just three percent of Nigerians smoked. By 2002, 25 percent of the general population and 18 - 22 percent of the youth among them smoked, and the rate is changing each year.

The reason of smoking is not only in their cost – approximately 2 cents per unit but the marketing to the developing world either.

British American Tobacco manufactured 93 million cigarettes a year, all of which were sold within Nigeria.

Though th laws and rules regulating tobacco in Nigeria exist, realization has been patchy at best.

In 2005 the World Health Organization's Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) was ratified by the government, which targets the labeling, distribution and sale of tobacco products. However some tobacco companies have ignored regulations, including a decision that health warnings must cover at least a third of the space on the tobacco products packaging.

The federal case was last week fixed for March 17 for one of the defendants, Philip Morris, could be served papers in Switzerland.

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