CAPPA – Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa

National Film and Video Censors Board Reaffirms Commitment to #Smokefree Nollywood

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The newly appointed Executive Director of the National Films and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) in Nigeria, Dr. Shaibu Husseni, has reaffirmed the Board’s commitment to supporting efforts to limit the exposure of tobacco and depictions of smoking in Nollywood, Africa’s biggest movie industry.

This commitment was expressed during an advocacy visit by the tobacco control community, led by Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA), to the Board on March 18, 2024. While congratulating Dr. Shaibu on his appointment, Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, the Executive Director of CAPPA, acknowledged the Board’s consistent partnership with public health advocates. He also thanked the NFVCB for supporting the #SmokeFreeNollywood campaign since it kicked off three years ago.

Speaking further, Akinbode highlighted evidence from around the world showing the dangers of tobacco consumption and smoking on human health. This challenge has prompted countries to actively engage in efforts to mitigate tobacco addiction such as minimising/eradicating its advertising, promotion, and sponsorship in public spaces, including the media. In Nigeria, efforts to control tobacco consumption led to the enactment of the National Tobacco Control Act, 2015, and its offshoot, the National Tobacco Control Regulations, 2019.

However, despite these measures, the tobacco industry continues to find ways to circumvent the ban on advertising tobacco products on television. A notable tactic involves leveraging the movie industry to clandestinely promote their products under the guise of artistic expression.

Based on these developments, CAPPA, along with other tobacco control advocates, has been engaging with the NFVCB to address these concerns. The Board is legally empowered to regulate the film and video industry, thus possessing the capacity to enforce compliance with the prohibition of tobacco consumption and depiction in movies. In 2022, the Board, in collaboration with the tobacco control community, developed a draft regulation aimed at prohibiting tobacco promotion and smoking in movies, music videos, and skits. This draft regulation is still awaiting further action.

In response to the comments made by the delegation, Dr. Shaibu appreciated the visit and expressed enthusiasm to work with the tobacco control community through the Board’s legal team to expedite work on the draft regulation towards implementation. Furthermore, he sought commitment and support from the delegation to join forces with the Board in hosting capacity development sessions for stakeholders in the entertainment and movie industry, to enable them produce artistic materials devoid of unhealthy depictions.

Other members of the delegation who also spoke at the meeting include Dr. Olayinka Oyegbile, CAPPA’s media consultant, Michael Olaniyan and Hilda Ochefu, both from the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids.

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