By Vezi Isike
Some Nigerians on Monday reacted to the new excise duties imposed by the Federal Government that consumers would pay more for alcoholic beverages they consumed and tobacco they smoke from today.
They told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in separate interviews in Lagos that an increase in prices of alcohols and tobacco would curb its sales and its consumption by addicts.
Some respondents told NAN that excessive smoking of tobacco and consumption of alcohol had been causing serious health hazards among users.
Mustapha Nurudin, the Assistant Manager of Jolly Foods, an eatery, called on government to place a total ban on the consumption of tobacco and other related substance in public places.
He said that they were a major cause of cardiovascular disease that could lead to instant death for consumers.
“Stakeholders in the food, drink and drug businesses in the country should be educated on the negative effects of consuming the substances to human bodies.
“This is because they play major roles in the lives of the citizens.’’
He also said that lack of proper regulation over the years had led to the death of many Nigerians from food poisoning, excess drug use and inappropriate application of drugs.
“If stakeholders know that there are effective laws that will bring them to book when they cross the line, more lives will be saved.
“The government has just taken a step in the right direction because this will affect the street sales of tobacco and even alcohol,” he said.
Also, Chioma Eze, an environmentalist, said that the use of tobacco could be detrimental to smokers and non-smokers as well as the entire environment.
“Monoxide pollution has been an issue over the years in Africa, especially in Nigeria, but we have focused more on the environmental hazards that meet the eye.
“Smoking is doing so much damage to the air we breathe and I have been an advocate of building sealed public locations where addicts can do their business without affecting the public.
“The ban of cigarette is the way out of environmental pollution,” she said.
Similarly, Bidemi Adetoro, a vendor of a popular brand of cigarette, said that the government should be decisive on how it could tackle the abuse of tobacco in the country.
Adetoro said that government was earning revenue from cigarette producing companies and it would not want to block that source of revenue.
She added that there should be a sensitisation from the government geared toward disabusing the minds of addicts on the health risks associated with smoking of tobacco and excessive consumption of alcohol,” she said.
NAN reports that the Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, disclosed in Abuja on Sunday that President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the new excise duty rates in March.
Adeosun explained that the rates were spread over a three-year period from 2018 to 2020 in order to moderate the impact on prices of the products.
The minister had stated in March that the President had granted a 90-day grace to all manufacturers before the commencement of the new excise duty regime in that sector of the economy.
The grace period ended on Sunday.