Africa | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Among the world’s regions, Africa is at greatest risk in terms of future growth in tobacco use.

  • Six percent of the world's adult smokers — about 77 million smokers — live in Africa.1
  • If no further policy action is taken, smoking prevalence is expected to increase by nearly 39 percent by 2030, the largest expected regional increase globally.2
  • Twenty-six percent of the world's smokers — about 413 million people — will live in Africa by 2100, if current trends persist.1

Transnational tobacco companies have set their sights on Africa as a growth market for their deadly products, using threats and intimidation to maneuver their way around government officials and policies. Instances of bribery and corruption are on the increase in African countries as tobacco markets shrink and rates of smoking decline in high-income countries, and tobacco companies deploy vast resources on well-executed lobbying strategies to undermine national anti-smoking measures in African countries.

But even as the tobacco industry actively targets African countries, change is occurring across the region as policymakers, public health experts and the public increasingly recognize the urgency of supporting proven tobacco control policies like those contained in the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In recent years, several African countries have proposed or enacted strong national tobacco control measures including Kenya, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, and Uganda.

The success of efforts to reduce tobacco use across Africa will be determined by the level of political will to pass and implement FCTC-compliant policies. Policy makers and public health champions must act now to implement the treaty by adopting strong tobacco control laws to improve health and reduce the horrible burden of tobacco use.

1 Evan Blecher and Hana Ross Tobacco Use in Africa: Tobacco Control through Prevention American Cancer Society (2013).
2 Network of African Science Academies, 2014. Preventing a tobacco epidemic in Africa: A call for effective action to support health, social, and economic development. Nairobi, Kenya. Report of the Committee on the Negative Effects of Tobacco on Africa’s Health, Economy, and Development.

Last updated Sept. 22, 2017