Wealthy Western states need to put Big Tobacco in its place and prove to the developing world that they can tame the cigarette industry through concerted, unified action, according to a story by Michael Wilcox at africatimes.com.

Writing ahead of the eighth biannual summit in Geneva of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), Wilcox said it was crucial that the signatories to the FCTC stood firm.

As the tobacco industry tried to foist modern-day colonialism on Africa and Asia, it was urgent that the old colonial powers came to their aid.

Wilcox started his piece by saying that, since the first American explorers brought tobacco back to Europe at the turn of the 16th century, smoking had always been a first-world problem. ‘The product may have been grown by slaves in the Americas, or farmers in Africa and Asia, but it was always marketed to a wealthy Euro-American audience,’ he said.

‘Yet now Big Tobacco is shifting focus, driven by declining smoking rates in its core markets. New research shows the industry is ramping up production in Africa, attempting to exploit its growing wealth and lax tobacco regulation.

‘This is just the latest evidence of manufacturers’ growing infatuation with the developing world, where smoking is, worryingly, already on the rise.

‘Now it’s time for the global community to take action, before the industry gets an iron grip.’

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