The Federal Executive Council has approved a new National Tobacco Control Bill 2014, which among others, prescribes six months jail term for smoking in non-designated places.
The Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, made the disclosure while briefing newsmen on the outcome of the FEC meeting presided over by President Goodluck Jonathan at the State House.
Professor Chukwu said the Bill, which would be sent to the National Assembly for passage into law, prescribed stiff penalties for individuals and companies that violate tobacco control regulations.
He added that the Bill, drafted by the ministry in collaboration with other relevant stakeholders, is specifically to control the dangerous effects of tobacco and to forestall tobacco manufacturers from turning the country to a dumping ground.
The Bill, he noted, is also in line with the 2004 WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which the country signed in 2015.
The minister said that for companies, the fine varies from N1 million to as much as N5 million; imprisonment of the chief executives of those companies could vary from one year to two years when they run foul of the law.
The health minister noted that the proposed Tobacco Law seeks to achieve 100 per cent tobacco-free environment in the country.
The minister gave the assurance that when passed into law, the National Tobacco Control Act 2014, would be effectively implemented. NAN/SA