PROTECT AFRICAN CHILDREN FROM HARMFUL “KIDDIE PACKS” TOBACCO, SAYS ATCA

Young people prone to.Tobcc

Young people prone to.Tobacco industry manipulation

July 7, 2024 ….Lusaka

Globally, public health promotion has constantly come under pressure due to an array of harmful activities such as tobacco consumption which puts at risk millions of lives, especially those of children who are now targeted by “Kiddies Packs”, a new form of cigarette packaging aimed at attracting young ones, FRANCIS LUNGU reports.

This has caused 60 tobacco control advocates representing 54 organisations from 25 African countries, Zambia inclusive, to appeal to the government of Pakistan to refuse the alleged push by the British American Tobacco (BAT) to change regulation to start smaller cigarette pack production.

It is said that in an event that BAT succeeds in influencing policy change on cigarette production in Pakistan, the shipment of smaller cigarette packs will be targeting the African children, with Sudan as the first market.

In a statement of appeal issued by the African Tobacco Control Alliance (ATCA) to the government of Pakistan, the 60 tobacco control advocates indicated that people in Sudan and other African countries need food and other basic necessities and not tobacco.

“We, public health advocates in countries across the African continent have worked tirelessly for years for the adoption and implementation of tobacco control laws and policies. Just like in Pakistan, these laws protect children, vulnerable populations and the general public in Africa,” the ATCA statement read in part.

 

It is observed that in Pakistan and many other countries, regulations don’t allow packs smaller than 20 cigarettes to be sold.

The advocates note that the 20-cigarette rule is a global standard but that the smaller packs of cigarettes, known as “kiddie” packs, make it easier, cheaper, and more accessible to children.

“In Pakistan, British American Tobacco(BAT) is pushing you to change regulations so that it can manufacture 10-stick cigarette packs and export them to Sudan. However, WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in its Article 16 calls Parties to prohibit the sale of cigarettes in small packets, which increase the affordability of such products to minors. Consequently, Pakistan as a party to the Convention should not allow manufacturing of 10-stick cigarette packs,” the statement states.

The tobacco control advocates indicate that British American Tobacco’s claim is that it will not sell kiddie packs in Pakistan, but only in Africa.

They note that it is unconscionable that BAT thinks it is alright to change a law on one continent in order to target vulnerable populations on another.

“In Sudan, and other countries in Africa, people need food, medicine and other lifesaving supports. What they do not need is kiddie packs of cigarettes that put them at increased risk of tobacco addiction, diseases and death. And we know that once BAT gets kiddie packs into one country, they will make their way across Africa,” the advocates through the ATCA statement note.

The advocates observed that the move to push for production of kiddie packs is in contrast of the same British American Tobacco claim that it cares about protecting children in some parts of the world, yet in Africa, it is scheming to hook more people into its addictive products and to increase cigarette consumption.

They strongly argue that if a product is too dangerous for one country’s children, it is too dangerous for children anywhere, and that putting other people’s children at risk of tobacco addition, disease and death is unacceptable.

“We refuse for Pakistan to acquiesce to BAT’s will – Do not put African kids at risk by changing the strong tobacco control regulations in Pakistan,” the 60 ATCA advocates indicated in unison.

 

Young people prone to Tobacco industry manipulation

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