Uganda - overview of the tobacco industry tactics..

June 19, 2009 - In Uganda, while still waiting for the National Environment Management Authority and the Police to enforce the Control of Smoking in Public Places legislation enacted in 2004,

The vulnerable tobacco consumer needs to have an overview of the tobacco industry tactics and their corresponding goals:
- Intelligence Gathering - Monitor opponents and social trends to anticipate future challenges; - Public Relations - Mold public opinion using the media to promote pro-industry positions; - Political Funding - Use donations to win votes and legislative favours from politicians; - Lobbying - Cut deals and influence political process; - - Consultancy Programmes - Produce "independent" experts critical of tobacco control measures; - Smokers' Rights Groups - Create impressions of spontaneous, grassroots public support; - Creating Alliances - Mobilise farmers, retailers and advertising agencies to influence legislation; - Intimidation - Use legal and economic power to harass and frighten opponents; - Philanthropy - Buy friends and social respectability - from arts, sports and cultural groups; - Litigation - Challenge laws; - Bribery - Corrupt the political system and allow industry to bypass laws; - Smuggling - Undermine tobacco excise tax policies and increase profits; - International Treaties - Use trade agreements to force entry into closed markets.

Some interesting facts: Tobacco kills eight persons around the world every minute. Each year, more than five million people around the world die from tobacco-related illnesses. By 2030, the figure will be 20 persons per minute, with most of these deaths taking place in the developing world. Unfortunately, many developing countries provide a conducive atmosphere for tobacco companies to test their latest insidious tactics to get around strict legislation in developed countries.

Aggressive marketing by tobacco companies has contributed to the rise in new smokers. Tobacco companies spend in excess of $5b a year on marketing and promotion in the US. Targeting women and youth, cigarette advertisements directly associate smoking with being slim.

Reference: Uganda: How Tobacco Firms Woo Smokers by Dan Marlone - a consumer rights activist,, 6/17/2009.

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