Abuse of the tobacco pack in Africa by the tobacco industry

This page is meant to show how the tobacco industry uses cigarette packs in Africa to advertise its products. Tobacco advertising messages and other branding features/elements are still very common on cigarette packs in Africa. A single cigarette pack often carries multiple tobacco advertising slogans. For example, a Dunhill pack in Uganda was found to carry the following pro-tobacco messages:

1-“Perfectionists in tobacco”

2-“Made to Dunhill’s standards of perfection”

3-“Internationally renowned since 1907”

4-“A flavoured selection of Virginia tobacco highlighted with burley to create the classic Dunhill taste”

These advertising slogans, combined with the other branding elements like the logo, pack design and colours, make the tobacco pack a powerful communication and advertising tool for the tobacco industry, leading to high appeal to/among smokers and increased consumption of tobacco.

Effective implementation of Article 11 of the WHO FCTC will shift the role of the tobacco pack from being an advertising tool for the tobacco industry to one that promotes public health. There is an urgent need for African countries to introduce pictorial health warnings on packages of tobacco products whose effectiveness have been shown/proved by several studies. A number of countries have already done so, exemplified by Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles which have adopted pictorial health warnings on cigarette packages. However, branding elements still persist and these could only be addressed through the adoption of plain packaging.

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