In the 1970s, Backwoods Cigars was introduced in the US, and in 50 years, it’s become a popular choice for cigar smokers across the globe. Featuring a rustic appearance and several strong flavours, many tobacco smokers claim smoking a Backwoods Cigar is a unique smoking experience. Those who are considering trying Backwoods may want to know whether it’s legal in Nigeria. In this article, we will answer that question as well as give a summary of what Backwoods Cigars are.
Is Backwoods Legal In Nigeria?
Yes, Backwoods is legal in Nigeria. They can be bought, sold, distributed, and smoked in Nigeria. However, as a tobacco product, certain laws, particularly tobacco control laws impose some restrictions on how Backwoods Cigars are used, advertised, sold, and packaged in Nigeria.
For example, smoking Backwoods (and other tobacco products) is prohibited in indoor public places and public transport. Moreover, minors may not be sold Backwoods. More of these restrictions would be discussed later on in this article.
Tobacco Control Laws in Nigeria and the Restrictions They Impose on Backwoods
Several tobacco control laws have been enacted to regulate tobacco products in Nigeria. And since Backwoods is made from Caribbean Basin Cuban seed tobacco, these tobacco control Backwoods Cigars are affected by these laws.
Before we go ahead to discuss how Backwoods Cigars are subject to the provisions of tobacco control laws in Nigeria, let’s mention those laws. Here are the tobacco control laws of Nigeria to date:
- Tobacco Smoking (Control) Decree (No. 20) 1990
- Tobacco Smoking (Control) Act (1990, No. 20)
- A Law to Prohibit the Advertisement of Cigarette and Other Tobacco-Related Products (2002, No. 4)
- Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) 463:2008, Standard for Tobacco and Tobacco Products – Specifications for Cigarettes (2014)
- National Industrial Tobacco Control Act 2015
- Nigerian Industrial Standard (NIS) 463:2018, Standard for Tobacco and Tobacco Products – Specifications for Cigarettes 2018
- National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019
- WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which Nigeria became a party to, in 2006.
Now that we’ve outlined the laws regulating tobacco use in Nigeria, let’s discuss the restrictions they impose on Backwoods and other tobacco products in Nigeria.
Designation of smoke-free places is one of the restrictions according to the provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act of 2015. This regulation prohibits smoking in certain places such as indoor public spaces and workplaces. That implies that smoking Backwoods in smoke-free areas is a punishable offence according to the provision of the National Tobacco Control Act of 2015. Other areas where smoking Backwoods Cigars are prohibited include public transport, restaurants and bars where food and drinks are served and consumed, playgrounds, and amusement parks.
Another restriction imposed on Backwoods as a tobacco product is the prohibition of the advertisement of the top-quality cigar to the general public. The only exception that allows for the advertisement and promotion of Backwoods is when the audience receiving such advertisements or promotions are consenting adults. This restriction was put in place to prevent the retailers and manufacturers of Backwoods Cigars from exposing young ones and non-smokers to campaigns promoting smoking.
Similarly, manufacturers and retailers of tobacco products such as Backwoods Cigars are prohibited from carrying out sponsorships for tobacco products in Nigeria. The only exception to such sponsorships, however, is that only consenting adults are targeted.
Tobacco control laws of Nigeria prohibit the sale of tobacco products to minors. Therefore, children of 18 years and below aren’t to be sold Backwoods Cigars if they want to get them. The provisions of these tobacco control laws also prohibit the sale of tobacco products via the internet and social media platforms. However, a quick search shows Backwoods Cigars are being sold over the internet by online marketplaces like Konga and OList.
Tobacco product disclosure is another aspect that tobacco control laws regulate Backwoods Cigars and other tobacco products in Nigeria. The importers and manufacturers of Backwoods Cigars are expected to disclose the content and emissions of the product to relevant government authorities.
In Nigeria, tobacco control laws require that every tobacco product, Backwoods inclusive, provide health warnings about the negative effects of smoking on their packaging. This guideline specifies that 50 per cent of the principal display section of the tobacco products packaging contain a combined picture and text health warning about the effects of smoking on smokers. However, there seems to be no such adherence by Backwoods as their packaging is without the required health warnings as found in the traditional cigarette packaging that shows the effect of smoking on the lungs and reads, “Smokers are liable to die young”.
Furthermore, there are two Nigerian Industrial Standards that regulate the content and required disclosure of tobacco products in Nigeria. Smoked tobacco products are regulated by the NIS 463: 2018 while smokeless tobacco products are regulated by NIS 1031:2018. If you are a tobacco user, you would want to look out for these NIS codes on the packings of the tobacco product you consume.
- Short Summary of Backwoods
Backwoods is an American brand of top-quality machine cigars produced by Altadis USA. Production of this cigar brand began in 1973, making it 50 years it has been in the market. The tobacco used to make Backwoods is the Caribbean Basin Cuban seed tobacco.
Backwoods Cigars have a unique structure and appearance. The sorted tobacco leaves are wrapped with a Connecticut Broadleaf which is rolled into a rustic shape with a frayed end and an unfinished head.
Although the creamy smooth all-tobacco blend is the signature flavour of Backwoods, there are nine or so other flavours available to smokers. Smokers with a smooth tooth may find flavours like Sweet Aromatic, Honey, Honey Bourbon, Honey Berry, Russian Cream, and Black N’ Sweet Aromatic to offer a unique smoking experience which traditional cigarettes may not provide.
From the article, we’ve established that Backwoods is legal in Nigeria, but subject to the provisions of enacted tobacco control laws. However, we noticed that the packaging of Backwoods does not carry the required 50 percent combined picture and text warnings as the traditional cigarette packs do. We also observed that Backwoods Cigars are sold over the internet, which contravenes provisions of the tobacco control laws of Nigeria.