*Recommend Tobacco Control Desk at all enforcement agencies
*…Code of Practice for practitioners in the media and entertainment
By Agbonkhese Oboh
Last week Thursday, representatives of the Federal Ministry of Health; 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, among others, interacted on how to get smoking off Nollywood movies.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, CTFK; Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA, and Gatefield Limited were also in attendance.
The forum was a one-day summit organised by the Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, on “Smoking in Nigerian Movies”.
It was another milestone discourse in CAPPA’s #SmokeFreeNollywood campaign in furtherance of its drive for the implementation of the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 that apply to the entertainment and media sectors.
CAPPA brought the relevant regulatory agencies of government and stakeholders in the entertainment and media sectors together to;
Familiarise stakeholders with provisions of the Act and Control Regulations; build consensus on the enforcement of provisions of the NTC Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 in the media and entertainment sectors;
Build a community of champions for the #Smokefreenollywood campaign and get roadmap towards a Code of Practice for practitioners in the industry.
Practitioners in attendance included members of the 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), among others.
At the summit, the lead presentation was “Tobacco as a Public Health Burden” by Dr. Oluwakemi Odukoya, Associate Professor of Public Health, College of Medicine, University of Lagos.
The representative of the Federal Ministry of Health, Mr. Emmanuel Agbons Abraham, delivered the second presentation on “Legal and Policy Frameworks Towards Effective Tobacco Control in Nigeria— The Journey So Far”.
Legal practitioner, Michael Olaniyan of CTFK, also delivered a presentation on “Highlights of the NTC-Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 Provisions on Smoking in the Entertainment Industry”.
At the end of deliberations and panel sessions, participants agreed that tobacco remains the number one preventable risk factor for non-communicable diseases, NCDs;
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 have been slow.
They also agreed that the delay in the enforcement of these laws, especially the provision banning Tobacco, Advertising, Promotion and Sponsorships, TAPS, has emboldened the tobacco industry to addict more kids through movies and entertainment sector.
Also, that the prevalence of smoking scenes and product placement in Nollywood movies portray smoking as acceptable and classy.
At the end, a communique signed by Akinbode Oluwafemi, Executive Director of CAPPA, contained the participants’ recommendations:
They suggested the immediate commencement of enforcement of the ban on Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorships as contained in the NTC Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019;
Set up 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;
Increased awareness creation on the NTC Act and the TC Regulations by the National Orientation Agency and other relevant agencies with specific focus on the TAPS menace in movies and music videos;
Also, sensitisation 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, and
Establish Tobacco Control Desk in all the enforcement agencies for enforcement exercises at national and state levels.