Nigeria is set to join countries that have banned the sale of flavoured cigarettesl in its markets as the technical committee on Tobacco and Tobacco products concludes the review of Nigeria Industrial Standard NIS 463:2014 for Tobacco and Tobacco Products – Specifications for Cigarette in Abuja.
An informed source at the meeting stated that industry representatives almost staged a walk out during the discussions. Contacted on the development, Standards Organisation of Nigeria Head of Public Relations, Mr. Bola Fashina declined comments stating that technical committee resolutions are proposals, subject to approval by the Standards Council.
A key resolution of the committee according to our source, was that characterising flavours, strawberry, banana, apple and menthol amongst others shall not be used in the manufacture of cigarettes in Nigeria. This expectedly will also apply to cigarettes to be imported into the country for sale once the reviewed standard is approved.
Other countries where flavour in cigarette and other tobacco products have been prohibited include Brazil, Canada, Ethiopia and Uganda while menthol cigarettes will be banned in the European Union, Turkey and Moldovia from May 2020.
In the UK, there’s a 4-year phase-out from 2017 before a final ban on menthol cigarettes in May 2020. There is evidence that menthol relax the airways and the flavour masks the harshness of the smoke, therefore making younger people find it easier to smoke.
The FDA as far back as 2009 has banned flavoured cigarette in the USA, including candy, spice, herb, cola, fruit and coffee flavours. Congress stated that flavours make cigarettes more appealing to youth and increase their exposure to toxic substances. The law in the USA defines a cigarette as any rolled tobacco product- regardless of the wrapper – “likely to be offered for purchase too consumers as a cigarette.
Brazil’s National Health Protection Agency (ANVISA) announced the ban on use of additives in cigarettes and other tobacco products on 13 March 2012. The Board of ANVISA declared that additives, including flavourings such as mint, chocolate, cinnamon and fruit mask the bad taste of tobacco, reduce coughing, facilitate drag, and help develop dependence. It believes that additives act as a means of luring young people into starting and maintaining use of tobacco products.
Nigeria will thus become the first country in West Africa and third on the continent to ban flavoured cigarettes in its jurisdiction.