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Tobacco Companies to Africa: Thank You For Smoking

We just got on the ground in Tanzania, only to read in all the papers about how the American Cancer Society just released a new report stating that Africa faces a surge in cancer related deaths due to smoking. The report says that more than half the continent will double its tobacco use within 12 years.

With smoking on the decline at home in the United States – and strong laws being passed from Britain to Japan – cigarette manufacturers have been tapping markets aggressively in the developing world. Tobacco manufacturers are aggressively advertising here all over the continent (with little education about health related risks or the impact of second hand smoking to combat it).

As we traveled in Kenya, we were pleased that the country has a national smoke-free policy. But unfortunately, Kenya is the exception rather than the norm. Only Niger and South Africa have similar policies. We will be following this trend as we travel throughout the continent.

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