Participants at a summit on Smoking in Movies (#Smokefreenollywood) held in Lagos have called for the immediate commencement of enforcement of the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorships as contained in the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019.
They also urged for the set up of a working group of practitioners working collaboratively with the regulatory agencies to come up with a Code of Practice for practitioners in the media and entertainment space as regards smoking in movies.
The summit, convened on Thursday by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) had participants drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health, Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Broadcasting Organisation of Nigeria (BON), National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps, and the Nigeria Police, among others.
Other parts of their recommendations include: “Increased awareness creation on the NTC Act and the TC Regulations by the National Orientation Agency and other relevant agencies with a specific focus on the TAPS menace in movies and music videos. Also, sensitization visits to the regulatory and enforcement agencies
“Regular interface by practitioners and regulators in the relevant agencies to achieve smoke-free media and entertainment sector.
“Adequate monitoring of spaces that kids interface including cartoons for tobacco industry activities.
“Establish Tobacco Control Desk in all the enforcement agencies for enforcement exercises at national and state levels.”
According to the organisers of the summit, the objective was to familiarise participants with provisions of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the
National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 that pertain to smoking in movies and entertainment sectors as well as build consensus on the enforcement of provisions of the NTC Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 in the media and entertainment sectors.
In his opening statement at the summit, Akinbode Oluwafemi, the executive director of CAPPA, said several studies have shown the prevalence of smoking in Nigerian movies.
“We first screened Nigerian movies in 2007 for the prevalence of smoking scenes, glamourization of smoking, and tobacco products placement etc, the findings were quite revealing,” he said.
“Another screening was conducted in 2020. This time the findings were also shocking. 36 movies were screened in total, picked from English, Hausa, Igbo, and Yoruba genres. All the 36 movies reviewed had smoking scenes, some in a scene while others were in multiple scenes.”
Mr Oluwafemi said 22 among the 36 movies reviewed had scenes that glamourized smoking.
“Ten of the smoking scenes were viewed as necessary to depict the character of the actor or buttress the message being passed, while 13 clearly depicted cigarette packs with some with brand names evidently visible.”
Participants at the summit observed that the media and entertainment sector are the tobacco industry’s new playground to entice and lure kids to the smoking habit.
They also observed that the prevalence of smoking scenes and product placement in Nollywood movies portray smoking as acceptable and classy, and that the needed synergy among government agencies to combat the tobacco menace is still lacking.