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Regulating SSBs and tobacco use will help in the fight against cancer.

CAPPA: Tobacco, SSBs Regulation Will Improve Fight Against Cancer

As part of World Cancer Day 2024, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) is urging governments to address cancer by focusing on tobacco use, sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and salt consumption.

CAPPA noted the surge in cancer and non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in Nigeria, with over 120,000 new cases reported annually.

In a statement by Media & Communications Officer, Robert Egbe, tobacco use is a major contributor to cancer and related fatalities.

The organisation stressed the association between SSBs and obesity-related cancers, kidney and colon cancers while underscoring the risk of stomach cancer linked to excessive salt intake.

Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, emphasised the government’s need to tackle these issues.

Oluwafemi said monitoring and regulating tobacco, SSBs, and salt would address the causes of cancer.

“The government cannot tackle cancer without addressing the risk factors holistically by taking actions against tobacco use, unhealthy consumption of salt, sugar-sweetened beverages, and others.”

CAPPA urged governments to enforce tobacco control measures outlined in the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015, and Nigeria Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019.

This includes prohibiting smoking depiction in movies and implementing graphic health warnings, with penalties for violators.

For SSBs, CAPPA recommended an increase in tax from N10 to N50 in the 2024 Finance Act, collaboration with stakeholders to set up a comprehensive legislation.

It called for the development of policy guidelines for salt reduction targets, incorporating mandatory limits on salt in processed and packaged foods.

CAPPA’s Food and Policy Manager, Abayomi Sarumi, stressed the importance of prioritizing legislation that promotes a healthy consumption culture, particularly in a country where over 80% of health expenditures are paid out-of-pocket.

World Cancer Day, celebrated globally on February 4, focused on the theme “Close the Care Gap: Everyone Deserves Access to Cancer Care” this year.