Nigeria Tobacco Situational Analysis Coalition and Jeffrey Drope
Nigeria is at a major crossroads in tobacco control, as comprehensive legislation was only passed by the National Senate in early 2011. The legislation is compliant with the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and has been vetted by the domestic tobacco control community and its many international allies (e.g. Tobacco Free Kids (TFK), Framework Convention Alliance, International Development Research Centre (IDRC), etc.). With adult prevalence rates approaching at least 20 percent and increasing (and likely higher amongst youths), there is a clear need to address tobacco issues in the near term, especially in such a populous (> 150 million), varied (hundreds of distinct ethnic and/or linguistic groups) and poor country.
There appears to be considerable political support for the legislation at many high official levels, but Nigerian politics are very complex. Even before final presidential assent, the tobacco control community is shifting to consider the challenges of implementation and enforcement.
While seeking passage of national legislation, tobacco control proponents pursued other avenues. In November 2009, the tobacco control community team enjoyed a signifi cant victory when Osun State passed a comprehensive smoke-free law (one of the African Tobacco Situation Analysis (ATSA) initiatives). The team had been sensitizing state legislators and the statelevel executive branch (the governor and his staff) about tobacco control for months through education programs. The team has since shifted its efforts to enforcement.