A new report from Corporate Accountability and Public Participation Africa (CAPPA) has revealed that the tobacco industry is cleverly exploiting social media platforms to market its products.
The report, “Tobacco Industry’s Capture of Virtual Space in Nigeria”, presented by CAPPA at a press briefing in Abuja, indicated the industry’s smart move to circumvent Nigeria’s tobacco law. 2015 on tobacco control and its regulations.
CAPPA Executive Director Akinbode Oluwafemi said the report looked at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and other social media platforms used by over 11 million Nigerians for the period between 2016 and 2021.
He said the report revealed that “the British American Tobacco Nigeria Foundation (BATNF), Philip Morris International Nigeria Limited (PMINL) and others are operating unchecked in the virtual space and using it to gain a favorable public rating not to mention the harms of their products. .
“CAPPA has found that tobacco sellers and distributors are using their social media platforms to aggressively promote tobacco product sales and a smoking culture that relies heavily on promoting content featuring tobacco icons. Nigerian music smoking heavily.
“Documented tobacco industry visibility activities are primarily in the agriculture, education and entertainment sectors of the Nigerian economy, which are subtly aimed at fostering engagement and collaboration with stakeholders. sector stakeholders.”
The report, however, blamed existing loopholes in the National Tobacco Control Act 2015 and the National Tobacco Control Regulations 2019 regarding the enforcement of the TAPS ban and approval. tobacco industry CSR activities by state actors and institutions for the manipulation of space by the tobacco industry.
The organization therefore urged the federal government to protect public health tobacco control policies from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry.
He also called for the application of penalties for TAPS and tobacco control violations in accordance with national tobacco policy and control, as well as the abolition of all ministries, departments and agencies collaborating with the industry. tobacco and their front group.