Nigeria’s Minister of State for Health, Olorunnimbe Mamora, has said the government increased tax on cigarettes from 20 to 30 per cent in June to dissuade Nigerians from tobacco consumption.
The minister disclosed this in Abuja on Tuesday while delivering his remark at the launch of the Tobacco Control Data Initiative Dashboard.
The event was organised by the federal ministry of health in partnership with the Development Gateway – A digital and data for development initiative.
“The Federal Government of Nigeria, with effect from 1st June 2022, commenced implementation of a new three-year tobacco tax regime which will end in 2024. This new regime increased the Ad-Valorem tax rate from 20 per cent to 30 per cent,” the minister said.
Also, he said there is a specific excise rate increase from N58 to N84 for a pack of 20 sticks which will have a continuous increase to N94 in 2023 and N104 in 2024.
The minister said Shisha is also taxed at N3,000 per litre and N1,000 per kilogram and would increase yearly by N500.
“This pro-health tax increase is effective and has the capacity to reduce demand and consumption of tobacco in Nigeria,” he added.
According to the 2012 Global Adult Tobacco Survey (GATS), 5.6 per cent (4.5 million) Nigerians of 15 years and older currently use tobacco products.
About 3.9 per cent (3.1 million) of this figure are current smokers, the minister noted.
The minister said the result also found high and significant exposure to second-hand smoke (SHS) during visits to public places with the prevalence of 82 per cent in bars or nightclubs, 36.3 per cent in coffee shops, 22.3 per cent in universities and 29.3 per cent in restaurants.
“The Tobacco Atlas 6th edition estimates that more than 26,800 annual deaths occur from tobacco-related diseases in Nigeria,” the minister said.
He explained that a report of studies by the Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa, published in 2021 also corroborated that 29,472 deaths were attributable to smoking in Nigeria.
While efforts are ongoing at the global level to address the damages caused by tobacco use, Mr Mamora said, “we have not relented at the country level with so many responses.”
The Dashboard, which can be accessed via www.nigeria.tobaccocontroldata.org is a virtual (web-based) database for information necessary for the implementation of tobacco control laws in the country.
According to the organisers, it contains authentic information on prevalence, taxation issues, harm, illicit trade, industry interference on tobacco use, and the use of shisha.
The dashboard can also be used as an advocacy tool for stakeholders in the tobacco community to make decisions and engage with policy makers.