BIG TOBACCO TINY TARGETS: TOBACCO INDUSTRY TARGETS SCHOOLS IN AFRICA
With a view to monitoring, countering and discrediting the tobacco industry and building support for tobacco control in Africa, ATCA implemented the Tobacco Industry Accountability project in partnership with the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK) and its country partners. The project was initially undertaken in 2017 in five African countries namely Benin, Burkina-Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria and Uganda.
The first campaign in this project, dubbed the Big Tobacco Tiny Targets campaign aimed at exposing tobacco industry marketing strategies targeting children around schools. A specific report was published for each target country, followed by a regional report.
In 2018, a second phase of the Big Tobacco Tiny Targets campaign was undertaken in three countries; Madagascar, Sierra Leone and Zambia. A specific report was published for each of these countries.
Some highlights of the regional report are:
• There are several types of tobacco sale outlets in a radius of 100 meters around the schools surveyed in the 5 target countries, including convenience stores/groceries, supermarkets, coffee shops, permanent or temporary kiosks and push carts.
• BAT, PMI and other tobacco companies use a multi-channel approach to advertise cigarettes around schools. These include posters, advertisements on structures or buildings, umbrellas, windows and doors of stores and their sidewalks.
• Cigarettes are sold around schools mostly in the form of single cigarettes. They are also available in packs of less than 20.
• In all the target countries, promotional activities are carried out in stores around schools. These include the display of cigarettes on and behind the counter and display of non-tobacco products such as sweets and snacks together with cigarettes.
• Many of the marketing activities being carried out by BAT and PMI around schools targeting children are being undertaken in violation of existing national laws.
• Studies show that tobacco advertising and sales around schools affects children’s attitudes about tobacco and encourages children to smoke.
• The codes of conduct of BAT and PMI promise not to market tobacco products to minors.
• Previously secret internal tobacco industry documents publicly released as a result of U.S. litigation settlements show that tobacco companies have purposefully targeted students and directed their advertising and promotions to stores near schools.
African government authorities must protect our children from the tactics of the tobacco companies. We are calling on our governments and policymakers to:
1. Enforce existing legislation governing tobacco advertising, promotion and sale.
2. Enact comprehensive laws that are compliant to the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control