The Nigerian Medical Association (NMA) on Wednesday in a statement issued by the NMA President, Dr Osahon Enabulele, called on governments at all levels to implement laws against smoking in public places.
The statement said Enabulele made the call on Monday while commending the Lagos State Government for signing into law a bill prohibiting smoking in public places.
"The association commends this bold effort by the Lagos Sate House of Assembly in striving to protect public health, promoting public decency and safe guarding the health and morality of children in Lagos State.
"NMA calls on governments at all levels to emulate and even outpace the Lagos State Government by giving teeth to public concerns on the dangers of cigarette smoking.
"By promulgating implementable laws, educating the general public, and providing the much needed but scarce commodities for rehabilitating smokers and aid those who want to quit, the government is promoting healthy living among the citizenry,’’ it said.
The bill which was passed by the Lagos State House of Assembly on Jan. 20, seeks to ban cigarette smoking in public toilets, tertiary institutions, public transportation vehicles, shopping centres, stadia, and restaurants.
The statement quoted Enabulele as saying that the NMA was worried about compliance because of the poor level of public awareness and health education on the dangers associated with tobacco smoking.
It added that the association was also concerned about the absence of cigarette smoking withdrawal programmes.
It said that some people were not willing to withdraw from the highly addictive and cancer inducing substances contained in cigarettes.
It regretted that commodities like nicotine patches and e-cigarettes that ease withdrawal symptoms in smoke quitters were also not readily available in Nigeria.