The recent signing into law of the Lagos State public place smoking bill by the Lagos State Governor, Babatunde Fashola has drawn commendation from the British American Tobacco Nigeria.
The BATN is known to have opposed strict regulation of tobacco business and smoking culture in Nigeria for decades.
However, the tobacco multinational through its Director of Corporate and Regulatory Affairs in West Africa, Mr. Freddy Messanvi, said that the Lagos State government has shown a good example of how to create a balanced and effective law.
According to Messanvi, the process leading to the signing of the bill into law was a transparent one that gave consideration to all relevant views.
He reiterated earlier position of the company on the new law saying “the bill itself was neither excessive nor discriminatory.”
Messanvi said he hoped that there will be adequate sensitisation of all Lagosians especially those who trade in tobacco or who will enforce the laws. “For laws to be effective, it must be enforced in a just manner as this is the only way it can achieve its intent,” he explained.
The law prohibits residents of the state from smoking in public places such as libraries, museum, public toilets, schools, hospital, day-care centres, public transportation and restaurants among others.
Section 12 of the 16-section law also instructs owners of public places to place signs with the inscription; ‘No Smoking’ or symbols as part of enlightenment for smokers and would-be violators of the law.