Senators on Wednesday considered legislation which seeks to control the manufacture, sale, advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco or tobacco products in Nigeria.
The bill on the subject has passed through Second Reading.
It was entitled, "National Tobacco Control Bill, 2009".
Deputy Minority Leader, Olorunnimbe Adeleke Mamora (AC, Lagos East), is the sponsor of the bill.
If passed into law, it would become an offence to sell or market tobacco products to persons under 18 years with a fine of N50,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months, or both for whoever flouts the law.
The bill also proposes to prohibit the sale of cigarettes by the stick as well as ban all forms of adverts, sponsorship, testimonials, and sale promotion connected with tobacco.
In the bill, cigarette manufacturers may be compelled to carry a special pictorial warning that covers half of the packet, informing smokers on the dangers of smoking.
Leading debate on the bill on Wednesday, Mamora said tobacco related diseases were on the increase hence the need to shield Nigerians from its harmful effects.
"The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates cigarette smoking currently kills 5.4 million people every year.
"Over half of that casualty will be recorded in developing countries like ours and if we fold our hands and do nothing, this century we are going to lose about one billion to tobacco related diseases.
"In 2006, the Lagos State Government discovered through a survey covering 11 hospitals in the state that two persons die each day from tobacco related disease," Mamora said.