The Nigerian entertainment industry ( Nollywood) has taken the world by storm and it is time for the industry to align with global best practices as regard the promotion of public health and healthy lifestyles.
Nollywood is ranked third in the world after Hollywood and Bollywood likewise the country should not left out in the campaign against smoking in movies which the other two giants have done in their movies.
In his welcome address, Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa ( CAPPA), at a stakeholders summit held in Lagos on “Smoking in Movies (#Smokefreenollywood) said arts celebrates life. It gives expression to our being, and humanity. Arts is that limitless space where human creativity blossom. But on the contrary, tobacco is death. Tobacco is a disease and a great inhibitor of pure ventilation of the creative. Tobacco is a pollutant of great art of a pure mind and soul.
Oluwafemi tobacco indeed is a killer. It currently kills over seven million person’s every year, of which over 1.3million are non smokers exposed to second hand smoke. Several studies have shown that exposure to smoking on screen has great influence on kids taking up smoking habit.
He further disclosed there has been several studies that clearly show the prevalence of smoking in Nigerian movies.
” We first screened Nigerian movies in 2007 for prevalence of smoking scenes, glamourisation of smoking, and tobacco products placements which were quite revealing.
” Another screening was conducted in 2020 and the findings were also shocking. 36 movies picked from English, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba genre were screened and they all had single and multiple smoking scenes.
He notes that the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 prohibits tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorships in movies and entertainment. There is also clear provision for warnings that should accompany any tobacco depiction that is absolutely necessary for ” Historical Accuracy and Artistic Expression”.
During the summit, Dr Oluwakemi Odukoya, Associate Professor of Public health, College of Medicine, University spoke on “Tobacco as a Public Health Menace”. Abraham Emmanuel who represented Dr Malay Mangai Toma, Tobacco Control Desk Officer, Federal Ministry of Health, Abuja on Legal and Policy Framework Towards Effective Tobacco Control in Nigeria.
While Michael Olaniyan, a lawyer and Technical Officer, CTFK spoke on Highlights of the NTC- Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 Provisions on Smoking in the Entertainment Industry.
Various stakeholders in the entertainment industry had two panel sessions and they discussed ” Building Stakeholders Agenda for Enforcing The NTC- Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 Provisions on Smoking in the Entertainment Industry” and Roadmap for Achieving a Stakeholder’s Code of Practice towards #Smokefreenollywood.