Cancer society implores Netflix, FilmOne, Ebonylife, others to end tobacco scenes
Nigerian Cancer Society’s President, Dr. Adamu Alhassan Umar, has called on filmmakers and streaming service providers like Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as distributors such as FilmOne, Genesis, and Ebony Life, to stop the use of tobacco in movies.
Umar, who stated this while launching the #SmokeFreeNollywood campaign, in Abuja, regretted that movies influenced more than one-third of those who died from the intake of tobacco.
He noted that the society has launched a public digital petition to Nollywood filmmakers to remove tobacco from Nigeria’s film industry.
According to him, the call is in line with the Nigerian Tobacco Control Act that prohibits tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship, explaining that films depicting historical tobacco users as characters must contain strong anti-smoking narratives and health warnings.
“Many filmmakers globally are already toeing this path in the interest of public health,” he said.
“Many Nollywood films today contain smoking scenes that glamourise the use of tobacco products, such as cigarettes and shisha, which unconsciously recruit viewers into damaging habits that harm their health.
“Tobacco use is the leading cause of cancer. And cancer is responsible for the deaths of 70,000 Nigerians every year.
“About a third of smokers started this habit through the influence of movies. After all, if their favourite characters are comfortable using tobacco on screen, it feels safe and trendy. But it is not.
“Tobacco kills up to half of its users and leaves others with a lifetime of health complications. Tobacco is responsible for lung, mouth, throat, bladder, kidney, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, larynx, colon, rectum, and cervix cancers.