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Nigeria movie industry moves to stop smoking scenes in films

…joins global celebration of World No Tobacco Day today

The Nigerian movie industry, popularly called Nollywood, has pledged to stop smoking scenes in films produced in the industry. The pledge, which is a significant public health move by Nollywood is in commemoration of World No Tobacco Day today May 31, 2021.

The commemoration is the first time Nollywood, the second-largest movie producer in the world by volume after India, is joining forces with other health-conscious organisations across the globe to mark the day.

In a newly released public service announcement, and part of the activities marking the day, high-profile Nollywood celebrities including; producers, directors, actresses, and actors have teamed up to denounce the promotion of tobacco products in Nigerian movies targeting children.

The celebrities joined forces with the #SmokeFreeNollywood campaign backed by Washington DC-based Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids in collaboration with public strategy firm, Gatefield, in celebration of the World No Tobacco Day 2021. The campaigners for the no-smoking-scenes include; Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (actress and TIME 100 most influential persons in the world), Dakore Egbuson-Akande, Osas Ighodaro (actress, Oxfam and Amnesty International Ambassador), Anto Lecky (actress and Big Brother Nigeria star), Meg Otanwa (actress), Michelle Dede (actress), Kayode Kasum (film director, Sugar Rush), Daniel Effiong, (actor), Linda Ejiofor (actress), Kiki Omeili (actress), and Imoh Emmanuel Chimezie (actor) and others.

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According to the World Health Organisation, 370,000 children in Nigeria smoke daily. Research shows that a significant percentage of current adult smokers were influenced by movies.

“Thirty-seven percent of these smokers started smoking as children due to the influence of movies that are created,” the celebrities said in the PSA where the celebrities took responsibility and pledged to make amends.

Speaking on the campaign, Esther Aghotor, creative director, #SmokeFreeNollywood, noted that this is the first in the Nigeria movie industry is participating in the campaign and pledging support beyond the commemoration of the day.

“ It is also a significant public health movement that is consistent with global pledges by companies like Netflix, Sony, Universal among others”, she noted.

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