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Archive for February 1st, 2011

The Flavoured Tobacco Controversy

Tuesday, February 1st, 2011

taste cigarettes tobaccoThe tobacco industry has been accused by many of using flavored tobacco cigarettes to deceive young smokers. However many other countries indirectly support flavored tobacco cigarettes. Admittedly the worldwide campaign against cigarette smoking has caused significant damage to the once strong big tobacco market.

However the tobacco industry has not rested from inventing new ways of reaching its targeted market. As the world focuses on stopping the growth of smoking tobacco, big tobacco appears to be working hard to shift and grow its market in the area of chewing tobacco.

Most young people are quitting smoking cigarettes and starting on chewing tobacco under the delusion that chewing tobacco is healthier and less harmful than smoking tobacco. On the contrary chew tobacco is as harmful as any tobacco use as shown through oral cancers such as mouth, tongue, gum and throat cancers that devastate lives.

As a way of giving a go one more time on the younger market, tobacco companies have been in controversy of introduced flavored cigarettes as a way of attracting young smokers to cigarettes. This apparently is a big problem especially in developing countries such as Kenya and Tanzania. Ironically these governments have been extremely vocal in opposing the introduction of regulations against flavored cigarettes.

Worried about the fate of over 40 000 farmers of tobacco in Kenya alone, these countries has instead lobbied for the introduction of regulations that are tolerant of the future of the tobacco industry. This effectively means these countries have absolutely no intention to introduce smoking laws and regulations that particularly target use of flavored cigarettes to target the youth.

In the United States for instance, the use of flavored cigarettes has been out-rightly rejected making it difficult for tobacco companies to use this tactic to get young people nicotine dependent. It would appear developing countries do appreciate the purpose of regulations opposing flavored cigarettes yet are terrified by the economic impact of the regulations running full throttle.

It would appear the new wave of campaign against tobacco use should target developing countries. These types of campaigns will only be successful if they can convince or at least offer an alternative to tobacco farming to developing countries such as Kenya and China with 350 million smokers. As the screws tighten in developed countries concerning tobacco regulations, big tobacco is shifting market focus and tobacco growing contracts to developing countries.

Not only will tobacco companies develop new strategies such as flavored cigarettes to counter the effects of a dwindling market due to anti-smoking campaigns, they will also continue attempting to participate in policy making process at the country level. The United Nations through the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has made it clear that governments should be watchful of a desire by big tobacco to influence tobacco policy.