Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
A non governmental organsation, Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), has lamented that the tobacco industry is exploiting Nigeria’s weak tobacco control regulations and poor enforcement to glamourise smoking in Nollywood, Kannywood and in music videos.
Its Executive Director, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, stated this yesterday while addressing a press conference in Abuja.
He said the decision to engage with Kannywood stakeholders in the North was 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.
Oluwafemi noted that the research looked at recent films from the three major ethnic groups in Nigeria – Igbo, Yoruba, and Hausa, sold in the open market and the indirect ways they were used to advance tobacco products.
He noted that 36 recent films were chosen from the three ethnic groups as case studies, saying while the number might be considered small, it was however representative enough for the purpose of the study.
Oluwafemi stated: “The tobacco Industry has for years 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 form of regulation of contents accessible to the young.
“Nigeria’s weak tobacco control regulations and poor enforcement has also been exploited by the tobacco industry which continues to glamourise smoking on set and in music videos.”
The Executive Director revealed that 12 Hausa movies sampled are: Arkizin Kano (Kano Wealth), AuduKuri, Daga Wakan Gida, Dije Rama, Don Ali and Fitila. Others are Hausa Horror, Jagwal, Jarumta, Kamfani, KarfinZuciyaandYaran Alhaji.
He stressed that the respondents to the questionnaire on the Hausa movies agreed that all the 12 films had smoking scenes and glamorised smoking.
Oluwafemi lamented that the smoking scenes in the films were not necessary to help the film realise its purpose, but added that the smoking scenes might have been inserted in the films to promote smoking consciously or unconsciously.
The group however recommended among others that there should neither be tobacco brand identification or the presence of tobacco brand imagery such as billboards, umbrellas, cars, among others in the background of any movie scenes.
It said there should be an adult rating for films with smoking scenes.
Speaking, a Kannywood Movie Director,
AbdulGaniyu Bashir, said studies had shown that smoking became a habit in the North due to their earlier association with Arabs that came to trade.
He said due to the fact that the Arabs did not
take smoking as anything bad, people learnt that habit from them.
Bashir said, “Most of our people started smoking. This thing has been passed from one generation to the other. In some parts of the north, a whole family- father and mother will smoke in the presence of their children and these wards seeing their parents smoking will also grow up and start smoking. That is how most of these children of 10 years, 11 years go into smoking.”
He called on appropriate government agencies to ensure enforcement of the law to curtail the ugly trend.