Tobacco control advocates have canvassed immediate enforcement of the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS) in the National Tobacco Control (NTC) Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019.
They stated this, at the weekend, during a stakeholders’ summit on Smoking in Movies: #SmokeFreeNollywood organised by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) in Lagos, lamenting that the delay in enforcing the Act and the Regulations, especially the provision banning TAPS, had emboldened the tobacco industry to lure more kids through movies and the entertainment sector.
Participants were drawn from the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB), National Orientation Agency (NOA), Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (FCCPC), the Nigeria Police and the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
Others are the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK), Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) and Gatefield Limited, Association of Nigeria Theatre Arts Practitioners (ANTP), the Golden Movies Ambassador, Directors Guild of Nigeria, Motion Picture Practitioners’ Association of Nigeria (MOPPAN) and the Kannywood Women Association of Nigeria (K-WAN).
In his welcome address, Executive Director of CAPPA, Akinbode Oluwafemi, said: “Tobacco is a killer. It currently kills over seven million people yearly of which 1.3 million are non-smokers exposed to second-hand smoke. Several studies have shown that exposure to smoking on the screen has a great influence on children taking up the habit.”
He added that with the tobacco advertising ban in almost every country, the tobacco industry was embracing covert ‘below the line’ platforms to keep their products in the hearts and minds of potential customers, adding that they have identified the use of movies and entertainment as the new advertisement frontier.
Also speaking on Tobacco as a Public Health Burden, Dr. Oluwakemi Odukoya of the University of Lagos and representative of the Federal Ministry of Health, Emmanuel Agbons Abraham, who spoke on Legal and Policy Frameworks Towards Effective Tobacco Control in Nigeria: The Journey So Far, condemned smoking in movies and sought collaboration to end the menace.
On his part, Michael Olaniyan of CTFK, who presented Highlights of the NTC-Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 Provisions on Smoking in the Entertainment Industry, maintained that smoking in movies was dangerous, as the tobacco industry was using it to lure Nigerian youths into using their products.
Insisting that tobacco remained the number one preventable risk factor for Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs), they lamented that six years after the passage of the National Tobacco Control Act and two years after passage of the Tobacco Control Regulations, enforcement of the laws had been non-existent and at best, very slow.
They, therefore, recommended setting up a group of practitioners to collaborate 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 participants also canvassed increased awareness creation on the NTC Act and the NTC Regulations by the National Orientation Agency (NOA) and other relevant agencies with a specific focus on the TAPS in movies and music videos, among other recommendations.