Tobacco Companies Promote Their Products in Developing Countries

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Suffering tough restrictions in the United States, multinational tobacco enterprises are more and more promoting their products in developing countries, mostly among women and adolescents.

While smoking rates in certain industrially developed countries are dropping at about 1% per year, those in developing countries are rising at around 3%.

Virginia Slims cigarettes

According to estimates, if present trends continue within next 30 years, more than 7 million people from developing countries will die from tobacco related illnesses.

For the past years, tobacco companies as British-American Tobacco, Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds have been extending rapidly in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

“In the US, Hispanic minorities have been mostly attracted by the tobacco manufacturers since the early 1960s, and have received a great dose of advertising,” said Jeanette Noltenius, an expert on tobacco and alcohol abuse issues.

Bureau of Census, U.S. Department of Commerce stated that the number of young Latino smokers will increase by 2020, constituting 19% of young American smokers, up from 9 at present.

Since 1980 the American trade officials, conducted a long campaign to open and promote markets in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. For instance in Taiwan all these efforts brought to increased levels of smoking mostly among women and kids.

These actions have urged the Asia-Pacific Association to stand against what they suppose an invasion of their countries by U.S. companies attracting Asian women and children.

Various researches demonstrate that in the poorest households in emerging countries, 10% or more of the total household expenditure is comprised in tobacco. Thus there is less money for main items like food, education and health that brings to unbalanced diet, illiteracy and premature death.

Currently in China tobacco enterprises are moving continuously inland with intensive advertisement campaigns. It was estimated that of the world’s 1.71 billion smokers, more than 350 million live in China, where the rate of lung cancer has been raising 4.75 % per year.

The Chinese government officials are facing a dilemma of advertising tobacco cessation programs while it substantially depends on profits from the state-run tobacco company.

Researches from the School of Public Health at the University of California declare that increasing the tobacco tax by the equivalent of 15% per cigarette pack could save more than 13 million lives and accumulate $9.5 billion in revenue for the Chinese government.

While U.S. anti-smoking organizations wait a particular moment for action, those in developing countries are less effective. Such countries’ policies and programs won’t be efficient unless transnational tobacco companies are made to limit their persistent promoting.

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