The British American Tobacco or BAT, which is a huge name in the cigarette manufacturing, used to shuttle temporary cinemas all over the six cities that are found in Nigeria in what they refer to as Rothmans Experience It Cinema Tour. It happened in 2002. The company had screenings for various movie titles such as The Matrix and Ocean’s Eleven, among many others that are blockbuster hits for the people of Nigeria. The residents are very excited to see a new concept not familiar to them that emits high quality sound and shows off a wide screen. To everyone who came to watch these blockbusters, BAT gave away packs of the
Rothmans cigarettes free of charge.
That incidence is only a sample of the desperation of the tobacco industry to recruit more smokers in the African continent. Since then, they have doubled their efforts to promote their products. In majority of the countries, the percentages of the total population that are smoking tobacco have decreased since the year 2000 except for those in Africa.
Looking at the data that was gathered by the World Health Organization or WHO, smoking rates have risen in about 27 countries in the world within the last 15 years. Seventeen of these countries can be found in Africa. The country of Congo-Brazzaville has the highest record and the data for last year shows that 22 per cent of the people there are smoking regularly. The last record was at 6 per cent in 2000. In fact, almost half of the men population in Congo is already smoking. The number of smokers in Cameroon has also increased by more than twice the original record – from 7 per cent now 22 per cent of the population is smoking
The low rates of smoking in Africa before are attributed to the fact that majority of the population are in poverty and there is not enough advertising of the tobacco products. This is according to a researcher from University of Cape Town, Hana Ross. The companies found out the cause of these low rates thus they released a new advertisement in Zimbabwe which says that the cigarettes are not made for Americans nor British but for the people of Zimbabwe. With the plain packaging used, people are not aware of the danger it poses.
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