BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY
Consumption of Tobacco products is a huge public health issue that endangers the lives of individuals of all ages ( Gilmore, Fooks, Drope J, Bialous, Jackson, 2015). According to Peto and Lopez (2001), the worldwide tobacco pandemic threatens the lives of at least one billion people. According to the World Health Organization (2004), the impact of smoking on underdeveloped nations might be especially catastrophic when compared to industrialized countries. Furthermore, the American Cancer Society (2005) noted that teenage tobacco use is a public health problem due to the immediate and long-term health concerns associated with tobacco use, such as asthma, chronic cough, chronic obstructive airways disease, cancer, and cardiovascular disease.
Tobacco use in whatever form has been recognised as a source of illnesses and preventable deaths all over the world for decades. Nigeria arguably has a low smoking prevalence rate in the world, with an estimated of her population smoking. This pales in comparison to other countries such as Papua New Guinea, Chile, and the Russian Federation, where smoking prevalence rates are comparatively high. When compared to alcohol prevalence, smoking prevalence is low.
However, Nigeria is an important tobacco industry market in Africa due to its large population and proximity to other markets in the region. Recognizing this, the Federal Government of Nigeria has enacted a series of laws to regulate the consumption of tobacco products and its adverse effects on consumers health (Apori, 1995).
According to the Consumer Protection Council Act, a consumer is someone who buys, consumes, maintains, or disposes of goods or services. The term “individual” is used in this definition to exclude activity by a group or class of persons. According to the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Act, a consumer is defined as
I. any person who offers to purchase goods for purposes other than resale.
II. any person or entity to whom service is rendered.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) defines a consumer as a natural person who acquires consumer goods and services primarily for a use other than business or trade.
According to Wikipedia as cited in (Apori, 1995), Consumer protection is the practice of protecting buyers of goods and services, as well as the general public, from unfair business practices.
Consumer Protection Laws are legal bindings that protect consumers of goods and services and their rights. Consumer protection measures are frequently mandated by law. Such laws are intended to prevent businesses from engaging in fraud or specific unfair practices in order to gain a competitive advantage or mislead consumers. They may also provide additional protection to members of the general public who may be impacted by a product (or its production) even if they are not the direct purchaser or consumer of that product. Government regulations, for example, may require businesses to disclose detailed information about their products, especially in areas where public health or safety is a concern, such as food or automobiles (Aaaka, P. and Day, 1974).
STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM
The tobacco industry is a profitable industry in Nigeria, actively contributing to the GDP of the nation. Over the years, this industry has evolved from a small one to a multi billion dollar company thereby creating lots of employment. The tobacco industry has so many consumers and it is widely known how dangerous tobacco is to consumers. The CP Laws were enacted to protect consumers and indirectly regulate the tobacco inustry (Azeez, 2003). But, are the CP Laws effective? Are consumers aware of these laws as regarding the consumption of tobacco? This study seeks to look at these.
OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This study seeks to examine Consumer Protection Laws and its Impact on Consumption of Tobacco Product in Lagos State. Other objectives of this study are to:
a) Examine the awareness of Consumer Protection Laws and tobacco consumption
b) Examine the relevance of Consumer Protection Laws
c) Examine the effectiveness of the laws on tobacco consumption
d) Examine the impacts of tobacco products on consumers
The following research questions will guide this study
a) What are the impacts of consumer protection laws on the consumption of tobacco products?
b) Are consumers aware of consumer protection laws?
c) How relevant are the consumer protection laws?
d) Are the consumer protection laws on the consumption of tobacco effective?
e) What are the impacts of tobacco products on consumers?
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
This study will be beneficial to the tobacco industry, as the findings will help the industry know its dos and don’ts when it comes to consumers. It will also be beneficial to consumer of tobacco products as they will be made aware of the existence of the CP Laws and its benefits to them.
This study will also be of great importance to the society as the findings will reveal the impacts of tobacco on society. This study will serve as an existing material for further reference and studies.
SCOPE OF THE STUDY
This study will be focusing on Consumer Protection Laws and its Impact on Consumption of Tobacco Product in Lagos State. It will also focus on the relevance, effectiveness of the CP Laws. This study will be focusing on solely residents of Ikeja, Lagos State.
LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY
This study will be limited to consumer protection laws and its impact on tobacco industry. It will not be focusing on any other law and industry. This study will be limited to Lagos State and thus the findings of this research cannot be used in any other state or country until further research is carried out.
DEFINITION OF TERMS
Consumer: a person who purchases goods and service for personal use
Protection Laws: laws and measures intended to protect ones rights
Impact: a marked effect or influence
Tobacco: a preparation of the nicotine-rich leaves of an American plant, which are cured by a process of drying and fermentation for smoking or chewing.