By Yusuf Adua
The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa, CAPPA, and Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance, NTCA, has sent a petition to the National Broadcasting Commission, NBC, seeking the prohibition of smoking in the Big Brother Naija Season 6, which issuer to commence tomorrow.
CAPPA and NTCA’s letter, titled “Big Brother Naija Season 6: NBC Should enforce Ban of Smoking in the Entertainment Sector”, was addressed to the Director-General of NBC, Mr. Babalola Shehu Ilelah.
According to a statement by Philip Jakpor, CAPPA’s Director of Programmes, in the letter, CAPPA and NTCA commended the agency for the prohibition of nudity on the show, but also want it to extend its control to smoking.
They did infer that the preponderance of smoking in the BBN has a huge impression on the youths at a time the government is working to reduce smoking initiation in the country.
Justifying that smoking has a measurable hand in COVID-19 complications, the body felt that the display would pose direct worse on the psyche of the followers of the show at a period the country is battling with another variant of the virus.
The letter, jointly signed by CAPPA Executive Director, Akinbode Oluwafemi, and NTCA Programme Manager, Chibuike Nwokorie, drew NBC’s attention to the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 that contain specific provisions that forbid Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship, TAPS
Specifically, the guidelines for the implementation of Article 13 of the WHO-FCTC include a statement that the depiction of tobacco use in films is a form of promotion that influences tobacco use, particularly by young people.
“The WHO states that movies and entertainment materials are the most veritable tools of the tobacco industry, which has been instrumental in the transfer of ideas and promotion of alternative lifestyles to kids”.
“The kids, generally impressionable, are enticed by what they see and are initiated into using tobacco products through advertising and subliminal promotion of smoking scenes in movies, music videos, and product placements,” they warned”, the body wrote.
They contended with the notion that the BBN show is one of the biggest on the Nigerian screen watched by millions of youths, therefore, the show’s notoriety of promoting smoking among housemates, with cigarettes conspicuously displayed and smoked recklessly should not be tolerated.
They urged the NBC to, therefore, invoke the NTC-Act 2015 and the NTC Regulations 2019 and totally prohibit smoking in the BBN Season 6.
To these human rights groups, no effort should be spared to protect the health of the citizenry during this intensely fragile period of corona virus.
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