A non-governmental organization, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA and the Kannywood film producers have made a strong case for a partnership between tobacco control advocates and film stakeholders in northern Nigeria to give checkmate the threat of smoking scenes glamorously portrayed in movies.
Both organizations made the call at a briefing in Abuja, which was attended by the president of the Kannywood Women’s Association of Nigeria, K-WAN, Hauwa Bello, and a film director, Abdul Ganiyu Bashir.
CAPPA Executive Director Akinbode Oluwafemi said the practice of luring children to smoke through movies has long been documented by the World Health Organization, WHO, and has reported the need for some form of regulation. of accessible content for young people.
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Oluwafemi noted that in Nigeria, weak tobacco control regulations and poor enforcement of provisions prohibiting the promotion of tobacco advertising and sponsorships in the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 have been exploited by the tobacco industry to promote your products.
The head of CAPPA revealed that since 2020 CAPPA has been spearheading advocacy efforts to build critical mass to confront industry tactics and force industry stakeholders to play an active role in introducing strict measures to curb the smoking in movies.
To understand the depth of the industry’s manipulation of films to reach children, he revealed that CAPPA conducted research on recent films produced in Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa languages that showed a disturbing trend.
According to him, in total, 36 films were chosen. The 12 Hausa films sampled showed a prevalence of glamorizing smoking in the scenes.
He stressed that Kannywood’s stakeholder engagement to remove smoking scenes from films produced in the region was relevant because they are role models, youth influencers, and key to the reorientation of young smokers.
Listed CAPPA’s recommendations to stakeholders to include adult ratings for movies with smoking scenes; strong anti-smoking ads; health warnings against smoking; certify that there are no payments from the tobacco industry; stop the identification of tobacco brands and a total ban on the placement of tobacco products.
In his speech, the president of K-WAN expressed his sadness that the prevalence of smoking was higher in northern Nigeria.
He explained that Kannywood, as an organization, identifies with the Smokeless Movies campaign and appreciates the awareness of its members on areas of collaboration with anti-smoking groups.
However, he explained that the National Tobacco Control Committee, NATOCC, must allow the body to be a part of it so that it can contribute its grain of sand to a smoke-free Nigeria, starting with smoke-free films.
For his part, Abdul Ganiyu Bashir emphasized that a lot of work would be needed to change the perception of young smokers and that Kannywood is ready to play crucial roles to ensure that films produced by its members are devoid of depictions that glamorize smoking.