Poor countries pressed by powerful tobacco industry

Secretary General of the cancer society, Anne Lise Ryel,Oslo.Secretary General of the cancer society, Anne Lise Ryel,Photo: Vidar Ruud / NTB scanpix

Increasingly stringent measures against smoking makes it harder for tobacco companies to make money in rich countries. So they turn against poor countries and use all means possible to stop the advertising ban and change smoking laws.

Health Minister Bent Høie followed Australia’s recipe for success when he launched tobacco packages without the logo and advertising last week. Tobacco companies will then lose its last chance to lure customers by using designs, colors and logos, and the World Health Organization and the Cancer Society are full of praise.
Taxes, advertising bans, and public smoking bans have forced the tobacco industry into retreat in more and more countries. The result is fewer smokers and thousands of lives saved.
This increases the industry’s appetite for new markets in poorer countries.
African countries are particularly interesting, says Anne Lise Ryel, secretary general of the Cancer Society.
“There are few smokers (in Africa) today. However, they have many young people, and if you get people to smoke early, you have a lifelong customer,” says Ryel said.

Only one smoke
A large international study published last fall showed that companies conduct far more aggressive marketing in poor countries than in rich ones.
Among other things, it is far more common to buy single cigarettes.
“This is a necessity to reach young smokers, who often can not afford to buy a whole package,” writes British Anna Gilmore, one of the researchers behind the report in The Guardian.
More smokers will lead to more deaths and stifle economic development, and this will affect the poorest countries the hardest, she points out.


Source: NTB scanpix / Norway Today