As Leadership reported on December 25, experts have called on Nigeria to adopt Sweden’s smokeless tobacco economy, urging economic managers to quickly take steps to address the significant economic losses caused by combustible cigarettes in Nigeria through tobacco harm reduction policies.
These stakeholders made the appeal at a Tobacco Harm Reduction (THR) roundtable event in Lagos, Nigeria, with the theme “Reducing the Impact of Smoking Cessation Strategies.”
In his speech, Nnanyelugo Ike-Muonso, President of consulting firm ValueFronteira Limited, said smoking remains a public health issue in Nigeria.
He affirmed that adopting Sweden’s blueprint to achieve a smoke-free country and related tobacco harm reduction policies is not just an option but a responsibility to Nigerian citizens and future generations.
He said: "Sweden is on track to become Europe's first 'smoke-free' country, with smoking rates expected to fall below 5% in the coming months and the country's strategy expected to save 15.5 million people over the next decade. life."
Muwonso explained that in order to successfully promote the implementation of tobacco harm reduction (THR) policies, Nigeria must develop a comprehensive THR policy framework that is consistent with global best practices and suitable for Nigeria’s unique context.
He called for a widespread information campaign to educate citizens, medical professionals and policymakers about the benefits of THR.
Speaking on the occasion, Professor Adi Bongo, Professor of Economics at the Lagos Business School said: “With about 50 per cent of Nigerians living below the poverty line, people think that smoking is not a major problem when in fact it is Exactly."
He emphasized that tax policies like increasing consumption tax are not a solution to reduce smoking, on the contrary, it will lead to an increase due to the addictive tendencies of smoking.