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BATN Commends Gov. Fashola Over Anti-Smoking Law

By Maryann Balogun
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Lagos, Nigeria: February 19, 2014: British American Tobacco Nigeria and other tobacco manufacturing companies, have commended the Governor of Lagos State, Babatunde Raji Fashola for signing into law the Ban of Smoking in Public Places in Lagos State.

According to Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Director, British American Tobacco West Africa, Freddy Messanvi, “Lagos State Government is on the right track by recognizing the need for balance in tobacco regulation”.

He added that the Law expressly seeks to protect the non-smoking public from second hand smoke and also guarantees the adult cigarette smokers' right to continue to enjoy the smoking of a legal product in private places, open places and in other designated smoking areas in Hotels, Bars, Nightclubs and tertiary institutions.

Also commendable is the introduction of 6 months grace before bill becomes law which gives the owners of Hotels, Bar, Lounges and Café owners the opportunity to implement any changes envisaged under the new law which would have crippled their business. The 6 months grace period gives necessary stakeholders the timeframe to adhere to making necessary changes. Likewise, Stakeholders urged the enforcement agents to be cautious while discharging their duties to avoid undue harassment of smokers who do not violate the law.

The law stipulates the penalties for smoking in a 'no smoking area' at N10,000 fine or imprisonment for a term not less than one month and not exceeding there months or both. The law also stipulates the penalty for non-compliance by owner/occupier of a 'no-smoking area “at N100,000 or 6 month imprisonment or other non-custodial punishments that the judge may deem fit.

The Public Place Smoking Law which was signed into Law by Governor Babatunde Fashola on Monday February 17th, 2014