Tobacco Industry Interference in Senegal
Tobacco Control in Senegal
Tobacco control in Senegal has been characterized by the adoption of several laws. This includes the following:
- Law No.85-23 of February 1985 which prohibits advertising of tobacco and its use in some public places;
- Law No. 2004-30 of August 2004 which provides a higher level of taxation (16% for low-brand cigarettes and 40% for premium cigarettes).
- Law No 2009-19 of March 2009 which increased the excise duty to 20% and 45% respectively for low-and premium-brand cigarettes.
Senegal ratified the WHO FCTC on 27 January 2005.On March 14, 2014 the National Assembly of Senegal adopted Law No. 2014-14 on the manufacture, packaging, labelling, sale and use of tobacco. It was signed by the President of the Republic on 28 March, 2014. The new legislation is more compliant with the FCTC and replaces all other tobacco control laws in Senegal.
Tobacco Industry Interference
Imperial Tobacco and Philip Morris have a manufacturing presence in Senegal and the tobacco industry is highly influential on the government and its interference is a reality in Senegal.
- It interferes in the development of health policies, as indicated by a letter sent to the Minister of Health by the President of the Republic asking him to involve the tobacco industry in the discussions on the tobacco control bill.
- A letter was also circulated by the former Minister of Health requesting his employees to take into account the concerns of the tobacco industry, including allowing advertising at the point of sale of tobacco.
- Philip Morris engages in corporate social responsibility activities and granted USD 200 000 to the Market Gardening Women's Federation of Niayes.
- Prior to the Sixth Conference of the Parties on the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (COP 6) in Moscow, British American Tobacco engaged in lobbying policy-makers by sending letters to the Ministers of Economy, Industry and Agriculture of Senegal respectively, asking them not to adopt the guidelines on Articles 6, 9, 10, 17, 18 of the Framework Convention.
- BAT also suggested that they should send more competent tax and trade officials to defend the interests of Senegal.
- On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2014, BAT issued a press release in which it called upon the World Health Organization and Governments to adopt low-harm tobacco products for a more modern approach to tobacco control.
- In 2009, the former Prime Minister of Senegal inaugurated the Philip Morris plant located in Dakar, arguing that the plant is a boon for young Senegalese, especially those in the suburbs who are unemployed.
Thus tobacco control activities in Senegal in recent years are a testimony of the diverse tactics of the tobacco industry, including the promise of jobs, conspiracy against public health policies, lobbying and using CSR to garner support and influence.
Monitoring the Tobacco Industry in Senegal
In March 2012, ATCA provided a grant to LISTAB, a coalition of 15 NGOs engaged in tobacco control, to advocate for the adoption of a new tobacco control bill and prevent the tobacco industry from interfering in the adoption process.
* A two-day workshop was organized to strengthen the capacities of 15 civil society members within LISTAB on Article 5.3 and strategies for monitoring the activities of the tobacco industry. Monitoring tools were introduced to participants who also learnt to refute the arguments of the tobacco industry against the bill.
* A TIM Team was set up and regular follow-up on the tobacco industry undertaken.
* An assessment of the tobacco industry activities in Senegal was carried out so as to define clear strategies for dealing with cases of interference.
* Several media stories were published in different channels (blogs, newsletters, social media).
* The TIM Team held press conferences to denounce all known cases of tobacco industry interference.
* Sensitization activities were organized as it was felt necessary to raise the awareness of government administration and politicians and parliamentarians on the provisions of Article 5.3 of the FCTC.
* Most importantly, lobbying of parliamentarians and religious leaders on the need to legislate on tobacco control and refute the arguments of the tobacco industry was carried out.
The continuous monitoring efforts of the TIM Team, coupled with those of other advocates for the tobacco control bill, culminated in the adoption of a strong and comprehensive national tobacco control law N°. 2014-14 of 14th March 2014, which also prohibits all forms of interference of the industry in the development of health policies in Senegal.
a- A FCTC-compliant tobacco control bill has been adopted.
b- A tobacco industry monitoring team has been established and is engaged in regular monitoring of the tobacco industry.
c- The efforts of the tobacco industry to undermine the tobacco control bill were effectively monitored and countered.
It is clear that in Senegal the tobacco industry has strong support at the highest decision-making level. Thanks to the vigilance of civil society, which was able to provide convincing and strong arguments against the interference of the tobacco industry, Senegal has one of the most comprehensive tobacco control laws in West Africa. However, it is important for civil society to continue its monitoring activity to prevent the tobacco industry's interference in the implementation of the law. The project also highlights the difficult conditions under which civil society often works to achieve desired results. Although many members of LISTAB were trained to set up the TIM Team in Senegal, only a few remained engaged. It is also worth pointing out that despite all efforts, it is not always easy to monitor all the actions of the tobacco industry as it uses enormous resources to operate, often away from inquisitive eyes and at the highest level of government.