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Big Tobacco Sets Its Sights on Africa

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posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 03:56 PM
This article from Time Magazine dated Jly 24th 2009 depicts the industrie's increased interest in third world nations to push their toxins.

Time Source

It's easy enough to buy a smoke at Isa Yakubu's grocery store on a busy street in Lagos, Nigeria. Never mind if you don't have much money. Most local merchants are happy to break open a pack and sell cigarettes one at a time — single sticks, as they're known — for about 10 Nigerian naira, or 7 cents. "St. Moritz is the most popular brand," says Yakubu. "But [people] also like Rothmans and Benson & Hedges."

Single sticks go fast at 7 cents each — an especially good price point for kids. And while Yakubu says he doesn't sell to children, other shopkeepers do. About 25% of teens — some as young as 13 — use tobacco in some parts of Nigeria, double the smoking rate of Nigerian men, and many pick up the habit by age 11. That's a demographic powder keg, one that means big trouble if you're a health expert and big promise if you're a tobacco executive. Both sides agree on one thing, though: across all of Africa, cigarettes are set for boom times.

In recent years, the world has increasingly been cleaving into two zones: smoking and nonsmoking. In the U.S. and other developed countries, Big Tobacco is in retreat, chased to the curbs by a combination of lawsuits, smoking bans, rising taxes and advertising restrictions. Fewer than 20% of adult Americans now smoke — the lowest rate since reliable records have been kept — and a tobacco crackdown is under way in Europe, Canada and elsewhere. In April, Congress boosted federal cigarette taxes threefold, from 32 cents a pack to $1. In June, President Barack Obama signed a law giving the FDA the power to regulate cigarettes like any other food or drug.

As we move into a more standardized and less free nation, the Tobacco companies around the world are looking for any source of income at any price.

But the West is not the world, and elsewhere smoking is exploding. In China, 350 million adults are hooked on tobacco, which means the country has more smokers than the U.S. has people. Smoking rates in Indonesia have quintupled since 1970. In Russia, boys as young as 10 start lighting up. This year, tobacco companies will produce more than 5 trillion cigarettes — or 830 for every person on the planet.

And it seems the trend is continuing in places that are not so poor. We may think Big Tobacco is going out of business, but it seems they are just now extending their power over the folks who can do nothing to stop them.

But the tobacco industry abhors a vacuum, and in recent years, industry players — principally London-based British American Tobacco, Switzerland-based Philip Morris International and the U.K.'s Imperial Tobacco — have been working hard to fill it. "We've done this before," says Allan Brandt, a professor of the history of science at Harvard University and the author of The Cigarette Century. "When something gets regulated here, we move the risk offshore." Says Michael Eriksen, a former policy adviser for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: "Africa is in play."

Ridiculous how companies and people who work for them can attest to this kind of behaviour and we sit back and watch. It's not happenning here, we don't care kind of mentality is hurting our fellow bretheren all over the world.

Any thoughts ATS?


[edit on 7/25/2009 by tothetenthpower]

posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:01 PM
Tenth, only the people can stop capitalism, and I don't see any trend towards this. This is the greatest example of making money even though it kills and causes people to suffer. There are people who would sell cyanide cookies if they thought they could get away it and turn a profit.

But what is indeed sad, is that no one is stopping them.

[edit on 7/25/0909 by ladyinwaiting]

posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:03 PM
reply to post by ladyinwaiting

I agree, however, capitalism isn't the problem. Free markets are what is needed, but the world FREE is the key point there.

I wonder when complacency will stop being the precursor to Justice in this world?


posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:07 PM
I'll take 6 rothman coffin nails please.

posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:31 PM
didnt the tobacco companies set their sites on africa hundreds of years ago with slavery?

posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:31 PM
Whilst I agree that the big tobacco companies are corrupt and deceitful, this article is slightly misleading.
Single cigarettes have been sold in Africa for years. Even here in South Africa. It's nothing new and the practice started simply because cigarettes are a luxury item and a pack is sometimes too expensive for a person who earns next to nothing.

Cigarettes are easily available in Nigeria and I always bought my Marlboros from street vendors when I was there. Their incidence of smoking may be increasing but strangely enough it was highly illegal to smoke and drive whilst it was far easier to get away with drinking and driving (harder to prove).

Lagos State Traffic Fines

British American Tobacco and other tobacco companies have been growing tobacco in certain countries in Africa for over a century.

posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 04:43 PM
ou know they also throw concerts with popular african artists for teens, and where ciggerette cartons are dumped on the ground.(thousands) and people jump into it. Also people can win money at em.

posted on Jul, 25 2009 @ 05:01 PM
reply to post by MR BOB

Their motto has always been get'em while they are young. Sad really ... I have drastically reduced my normal smoking by smoking an electronic cigarette at work.
It's really improved my health - after years at gym with little result, I am suddenly gaining muscle and in the best physical condition of my life.

I can't believe the FDA wants to ban them. If I get cancer from them instead of normal cigarettes, at least I will have a better looking corpse.

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