August 3, 2010 - During a recent meeting in Maputo, Mozambique capital hosted by Africa Tobacco Control Regional Initiative, ATCRI, and a href-"http://www.fctc.org/">Framework Convention Alliance, FCA the tobacco industry's invasion into Africa was described as ruthless and insidious in its pursuits of creating markets in developing countries.
The forum accused tobacco companies of taking advantage of the less stringent tobacco control laws in Africa, thereby making it a target for tobacco product.
Bontle Mbongwe, a lecturer at the University of Botswana said the tobacco industry is capitalizing on the legislative shortcoming in Africa to “aggressively advertise and market poison and death to the population.”
Mbongwe observes that the tobacco industry is succeeding to invest in legal actions to silence those who make noise about the harmful effect of tobacco and the poverty it brings to the already poor nations. “Tobacco countries also exploit poorer countries by issuing donations to ensure the support of politicians as well as manipulating scientific evidence to confuse consumers. While the industry benefits from huge profit the customers has a sad reality to face premature death,” she noted.
Tanzania - accepts donations from Alliance One, a leaf tobacco merchant....;The forum which was a common ground to discuss the progress of African countries in tobacco control through the determinant of actual tobacco control situation in Mozambique warns of a global pandemic if tobacco consumption in Africa is not put under serious check.
Tanzania - leaf tobacco company donates blankets to government hospital..;
Tanzania - too busy growing tobacco to think about tobacco control..;
Rwanda - accepts donation from BAT for needy students...
Dr. Patrick Musavuli, afro regional coordinator of the Framework Convention Alliance provides a shocking statistics from a medical standpoint. Drawn from a quote from World Health Organizations, WHO Director General, Musavuli says “we can no longer standby quietly and watch the spread of an epidemic that is already killing 4 million people a year and is set to cause 10 million deaths annually by 2030”
Musavuli insists that African government must now stand for the health of its citizens through the implementation of a WHO framework Convention on Tobacco Control, FCTC, a document which prescribes guidelines for the control of tobacco products consumption and cultivation.
Many African countries have signed and ratified the Framework Convention document but the issue of implementation of the content is one of the biggest challenges in Africa. In some cases the question of economy and health always comes to mind but in such consideration the cost of health care far outweighs the economic gain derived from tobacco products.
Reference: Tobacco industry under fire, Victor Emeruwa, Africa News reporter in Lagos, Nigeria, African News, 8/2/2010.