The National Film and Video Censors Board (NFVCB) has started engagement with practitioners and stakeholders in the film and entertainment industry to enforce the law banning smoking in movies.
Mr Adedayo Thomas, Executive Director, NFVCB, made this known on Saturday, while presenting the communique issued at the end of the entertainment industry stakeholders’ roundtable in Lagos.
The roundtable focused on the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 in Lagos, as they relate the movie and entertainment industry generally.
Thomas said that the engagement was geared towards ensuring that practitioners in the film industry adhered to the “No Smoking” laws in Nigerian movies, among other relevant laws of the country.
The meeting was hosted by NFVCB, with technical support from Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA).
The NFVCB boss noted that the board and the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture were worried about the growing evidence, linking the entertainment industry with the increasing tobacco use and its impact on public health.
Thomas stated that NFVCB prioritised classification of movies with smoking scenes and tobacco depiction, adding that the board would ensure these were fully enforced.
He, however, noted that existing national legislation did not sufficiently capture the emerging alternative products of tobacco, such as e-cigarettes and Shisha, among others.
The executive director advised the National Assembly, the Ministry of Health and other relevant authorities to involve the movie industry players in their engagements, so as to enable them to be on the same page in the implementation of the legislation.
Thomas said: “Stakeholders observed that smoking in movies and the entertainment sector is a pathway to young people embracing smoking.
“The tobacco industry uses sophisticated marketing mix to promote smoking on set and in the entertainment sector.
“Entertainment stakeholders are deliberately targeted by the tobacco industry, either through financial inducement, misinformation or other subtle approaches to further the glamorisation of smoking in the movies and entertainment sector.
“Awareness on the dangers of smoking in movies and the entertainment sector in the digital media space is still low,” he said.
According to him, NFVCB will intensify its awareness creation and education among relevant stakeholders in the movies and entertainment sectors to ensure compliance with extant laws.
Thomas cited the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019, in relation to the ban on tobacco advertising promotion and sponsorships.
He pledged that the NFVCB would continue to work with relevant stakeholders to put in place adequate measures to ensure that the environment remained conducive to grow the film industry.
He stressed that NFVCB would sustain its engagement and consultation with relevant stakeholders in the movie and entertainment sector to ensure that film classifications were appropriate and up-to-date.
Thomas also said that the board and movie practitioners ought to be represented in the operationalisation of the Tobacco Control Fund.
He added that this would open opportunities for movies and entertainment sector operators to play crucial roles in awareness creation and sensitisation activities concerning smoking in movies.
The meeting was attended by regulators, public health tobacco control experts, movie producers, script writers, film distributors and exhibitors.
Actors and actresses, young and old, were also present to discuss the prevalence of smoking scenes in movies.