Special the NNPA from the Global Information Network –
As anti-smoking campaigns backed by higher taxes take hold in U.S. cities and around the world, “big tobacco” has turned its eye toward Africa.
Tobacco consumption will double in the next 12 to 13 years in sub-Saharan Africa, predicts Evan Blecher, a South African economist with the American Cancer Society, without major policy interventions.
“As income rises, so does tobacco consumption (nearly on a one-to-one basis) and developing countries are growing rapidly, China and India are growing at more than 8% a year and the average economic growth in Africa is 5% a year.”
Still, an anti-smoking movement is pushing back. Kenya and Niger have enforced national smoke-free policies, and South Africa, which has had smoke-free laws on the books since March 2007, “continues to play an important role in the region, demonstrating that smoke-free laws can work in Africa”, notes the report: Global Voices: Rebutting the Tobacco Industry, Winning Smokefree Air.
This week, activists with the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria plan to release a report from the tobacco industry watchdog-Corporate Accountability International - presenting new evidence of persistent efforts by the tobacco industry to obstruct the FCTC on the African continent.
‘Protecting Against Tobacco Industry Interference’ will be released at this week’s World Health Organization's Convention on Tobacco Control in Punta del Este, Uruguay.
Meanwhile, a lawsuit is set to go to trial in a Boston court, accusing Lorillard Tobacco Co. of enticing Black children to become smokers by handing out free samples in urban neighborhoods.
The plaintiff, Willie Evans, alleges that the firm used an illegal marketing strategy to get his mother to begin smoking Newport cigarettes at age 9, which led to a lifelong addiction and her death to cancer.
The giveaways in urban neighborhoods were "designed to attract African-American children and teenagers and to place cigarettes in their hands," the lawsuit states. The company admits to the free handouts but denies it ever offered them to children in a playground.
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