The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) have called for an end to using smoking scenes in movies, music video and other aspects of the entertainment industry.
This is as some operators in Nollywood and Kannywood expressed support for the move in the interest of national health, especially for the youths.
They said that the call would assist in reducing the exposure of children to smoking in the country.
Speaking at a news conference on Thursday in Abuja, the Executive Director of CAPPA, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, said that though the stakeholders claim using smoking scenes to drive a point, such should be rated as adult movie.
He said that movies and entertainment materials are veritable tools for the transfer of ideas and promotion of alternative lifestyles.
“Youths are initiated into using tobacco products through advertising and subliminal promotion of smoking scenes in movies, music videos and product placements.
“The tobacco industry has exploited the entertainment sector (films and music videos) to entice and conscript young people into smoking.
“This practice has long been documented across the globe and has informed the need for some forms of regulation of contents accessible to the young. Such regulations are in place in the United States, India, Canada, and some other western nations,’’ Oluwafemi said.
He recalled the statement of a former Director of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr. Douglas Bettcher, who in February 2016, said, “With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions.”
The CAPPA boss urged the Advertising Practitioners Council of Nigeria (APCON) and other agencies saddled with the responsibilities of enforcing the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act, 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations (NTCR) 2019 to do the needful in national interest.
He said that the enforcement of the nation’s tobacco control regulations has also been exploited by the tobacco industry, which continues to glamourise smoking on set and in music videos.
“Since 2020, CAPPA has been spearheading advocacy efforts at building a critical mass to confront the industry’s tactics of wooing the young and uninformed through films and music videos.
“There is a need to checkmate the industry and compel stakeholders in the sector to play active roles in the introduction of stringent measures to curb the industry’s stranglehold on the youth population,’’ he said.
He added that this made CAPPA to organise a meeting on 21 November in Lagos with Nollywood stakeholders.
He said, “Our decision to engage with Kannywood stakeholders in the north is informed by a research carried out by CAPPA in 2020 to get a clear picture of the depth of the depiction of smoking in Nigerian movies.
“The research looked at recent films from the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria (lgbo, Yoruba, and Hausa), sold in the open market and the indirect ways they were used to advance tobacco products.’’
He said that 36 recent films were chosen from the three ethnic groups as case studies.
“Although these numbers might be considered small, it was, however, representative enough for the purpose of this study.
“The genre of the films studied are at the time the study was conducted the most popular among youths as majority viewers and consumers of the films confirmed.”
He said that respondents to the questionnaire on the movies agreed that all the films had smoking scenes and glamorised smoking and that the smoking scenes in the films were not necessary to help the film realise its purpose.
The duo of a Movie Director, Kannywood, AbdulGaniyu Bashiru; and the Chair, Kannywood Women Association of Nigeria (K-WAN) Hauwa Bello, expressed Kannywood’s readiness to collaborate with CAPPA and Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids to address menace associated with smoking scenes in movies and music videos.
On his part, the Technical Resource Officer, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Mr Michael Olaniyan, said the NTC Act, 2015 and the NTCR 2019 contain provisions prohibiting tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship in movies and entertainment, with some exceptions.
He therefore, urged the APCON and other agencies to enforce the laws.