Promoting smoking habit?

What do we do with a drag of smoke? Perhaps, Nigeria’s President, Umar Musa Yar’Adua is convinced we need a smoke filled lung to clear our heads. I read in the papers the past week a new Nigerian Federal Government directive reducing duties payable on cigarettes imported into the country by 20 percent while retaining the 40 percent band on other imported goods the country frowns at.

With the universal outcry against smoking and processed tobacco, one would expect a retraction of the story hours after it was made public but till now, I am yet to get a retracted update. While I am not a dye-in-the wool anti tobacco crusader, I still strongly holds that the persuasive arguments of the unhealthy consequences of cigarette smoking should be enough to make any government castigate any effort that could tempt the use of cigarette by any member of the Nigerian populace. Certainly, a reduced price for a unit of cigarette is a tempting option.

Perhaps, the Nigerian government is calibrating a new path to ascendancy of the powerful and wealthy British American Tobacco Company that had established a strong outpost in the country, no one near government that I discussed with would affirm that. Or perhaps still, it is an imposition of the President habit on the nation. As improbable as this may sound, my private crosschecks seem to confirm that this may be the case. I understand from reliable sources that the President used to delight in cigarette smoking, nobody would dare confirm that he still does, of course for fears of federal reprimand. But there seem to be a connect, an ex (?) smoking president and a 50 per cent reduction in duties charged on cigarettes. Is somebody tallying the connect out there?  

I do not think it is appropriate to officially emblemize Nigeria as a nation of nicotine addict. The cost to us in the near future would be unbearable; we have enough of troubles than to contend with hefty health consequences of a habit that is dying out around the world, even as smokers in Nigeria are fervently in discourse with their makers to save them from the addiction.

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