The Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) and the Nigeria Tobacco Control Alliance (NTCA) on Friday wrote a petition to the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC) demanding the prohibition of smoking in the Big Brother Naija Season 6 which commences later this month.

CAPPA and NTCA in the letter titled Big Brother Naija Season 6: NBC Should Enforce Ban of Smoking in the Entertainment Sector, and addressed to Director General of the NBC, Babalola Shehu Ilelah, commended the agency for prohibiting nudity on the show.

It, however, urged NBC to extend its radar to smoking which they say is glamourised on the show.

The groups said that housemates who smoke in the BBNaija house leave a huge impression on the youth at a time the Nigerian government is working assiduously to reduce smoking initiation.

They added, ‘‘It is even worse at a period the country is battling with COVID -19 pandemic since it has been established that smokers have greater possibility of developing complications or even death if they contract the coronavirus.”

During season 3 of the reality tv show in 2018, Big Brother temporarily banned the housemates from drinking alcohol, smoking, and using swear words in the house. The temporary ban on abusive language and intoxication was announced by Miracle, the new head of house at the time. The ban was later lifted.

What the law says

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. Both acts contain specific provisions that prohibit Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship (TAPS).

Sections 12(1) of the NTC Act define tobacco advertising and promotion to include “any form of commercial communication, recommendation, or action with the aim, effect, or likely effect of promoting a tobacco product or tobacco use directly or indirectly.

The section states that: “no person shall promote or advertise tobacco or tobacco products in any form.”

They also referenced the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO-FCTC) that Nigeria has signed and ratified. The framework requires parties to implement a comprehensive ban on Tobacco Advertising, Promotion, and Sponsorship (TAPS).

They said, “Specifically, the guidelines for the implementation of Article 13 of the WHO-FCTC includes a statement that the depiction of tobacco use in films is a form of promotion that influences tobacco use, particularly by young people.

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“ 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.”

While noting that the BBNaija reality show is one of the biggest shows on the Nigerian screen watched by millions of youth, they stressed that since its inception, it has been notorious for promoting smoking among housemates.

They said in the BBNaija house, ‘‘Cigarettes are conspicuously displayed and smoked recklessly in total disregard to the health of possible non-smoker housemates.”

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, pointing out that at this point in a global pandemic, no effort should be spared to protect the health of the citizenry.

BBNaija season 6

The Season 6 edition of the BBNaija reality show is expected to air soon following the conclusion of the reunion show.

The organisers recently decried a list of supposed Season 6 housemates circulating in some sections of the media.

The organisers stated, “We have received an unverified trending list of the Big Brother Naija 2021 Housemates. This is to clearly state that the official list has not been released.”

Warning fans against the spread of fake and unconfirmed housemates’ list, they added that “The BBNaija official names of housemates will be published on the launching of the 2021 reality TV show, as the host, Ebuka Obi-Uchendu, would be on stage to introduce housemates into the house.

The reality show, which makes a return for a sixth season this month, has already topped previous seasons as MultiChoice Nigeria has announced a grand prize of N90m-the highest in the show’s history.

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