New Report: Africa at Risk of Becoming “Epicenter of Tobacco Epidemic”

November 20, 2013

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A new report by the American Cancer Society warns that without urgent action to prevent tobacco use, Africa will be the 'future epicenter of the tobacco epidemic' with soaring rates of tobacco use and related disease and death.

According to the report, rates of tobacco use are likely to increase as African nations continue to experience strong economic and massive population growth. The number of African smokers will skyrocket from 77 million today to 572 million by 2100 unless proven measures to reduce tobacco use are implemented and enforced throughout the continent.

The report comes at a crucial time for Africa, as nations including Nigeria, Uganda and Senegal consider adopting and implementing life-saving tobacco control policies.

In recent years, tobacco companies have increasingly set their sights on Africa as a growth market for their deadly products. Tobacco use in Africa is growing by 4.3 percent each year.

According to the new report, 139 million premature deaths can be averted if African nations act now and implement proven methods to reduce tobacco use, including increased tobacco taxes, smoke-free public places, graphic health warning labels and bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship.