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The grand finale of the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN) Tobacco Control Rap Challenge held Friday in Lagos in a ceremony attended by tobacco control advocates and youth groups.

The competition which started on September 2 targeted creating awareness on enforcement of the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 and Tobacco Regulations to the youths through a music competition tagged #TCRapChallenge and #EnforceTCRegNow.

Provisions of the NTC Act that the campaign promotes are the ban on sale of cigarettes in single sticks and ban on sale of cigarettes to minors. The Regulations approved by the National Assembly in May 2019

The winner of the competition was Okuguni Efemena Ferdinand based in Lagos who received a cash gift of N150,000. The first runner up, Udeng Bennet Etido, based in Enugu received N100,000.

Adeogun Joy Yinka based in Oyo, Atiku Godswill Goddy from Abuja, and Udeng Otobong Bennet from Anambra each got N50, 000.

Adewunmi Adeniyi, ERA/FoEN Social Media Officer, said the TCRap Challenge is a reflection of his organisation’s belief that the youth are crucial in tobacco control.

From the diversity of the winners, it can be concluded that Nigerian youths yearn for effective regulation of tobacco products and reject tobacco industry attempts to conscript them into the smoking habit.”

He explained that, “Our knowledge of how the tobacco industry targets the youths made us conceive this initiative to reach the same audience that the tobacco industry targets as replacement smokers.”

The winners will get studio sessions, tobacco control branded T-shirts, phones and cash prizes, among other gifts, the group said.

READ ALSO: ‘Nigeria’s tobacco control bill is missing’

Akinbode Oluwafemi, ERA/FoEN Deputy Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi said, “We are happy that the youths targeted by tobacco companies have demonstrated through music that despite the tobacco industry strategies to grow replacement smokers, they can make the right choices”.

The TC Rap Challenge received nearly 400 entries and participants on ERA/FoEN social media platforms, according to the group.

The platforms recorded over 1million reach on Facebook, over 500k reach on Instagram. During the campaign, the hashtag #TCRapChallenge and #EnforceTCRegNow trended two times within two weeks of commencement, was over 1,180 tweets with 480 retweets and 550 replies during the campaign .

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