The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

FCAers go on air to explain tobacco epidemic in Africa

Tobacco control advocates answered the question ‘Why is smoking increasing in Africa?’ on an episode of the Voice of America programme Straight Talk Africa, on 28 May. 

Two main reasons explain the growing use of tobacco on the continent, said Joshua Kyallo, Africa Programme Director for Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK). 

The first is the sophisticated marking of the tobacco industry, especially targeting young, potential smokers. The second is the increased purchasing power of the continent’s growing middle class. 

Implementation needed now

According to Evan Blecher of the American Cancer Society (ACS), African governments must take immediate steps to implement key measures of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). 

He referred to “Preventing a Tobacco Epidemic in Africa”, a report sponsored by the Network of African Science Academics (NASAC), which was released in March 2014.

The experts who wrote the report concluded that African governments should:

  • Provide human and financial resources for tobacco control programmes; 
  • Encourage external partners to support their plans and, 
  • Enact legislation to augment these efforts.

Tobacco taxation should be at the top of the list of tobacco control measures, added Evan, Senior Economist, at the ACS International Tobacco Control Research Program.

“As incomes rise, consumption of many products, including cigarettes and tobacco, is going to rise ... Governments are able to use taxation to ensure tobacco products don't become more affordable.”

Forty-two of 46 countries in the World Health Organization’s AFRO region are Parties to the FCTC. Ethiopia is the latest Party to the treaty. 

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