In my fathers ancestral continent of Africa, levels of smoking are growing and as compared to my upbringing home of Australia, African children are exposed to cigarette advertising on mainstream media and a majority of them are are attracted to the deadly habit from widely available platforms of advertising. I vividly recall a widely publicized study in Australia five years ago that detailed how a child extensively exposed to cigarette advertising end up being a smoker.It was no surprise that many Australians smoked when still very young. In Africa, some countries are still among the handful globally that still permits cigarette advertising on mainstream electronic media especially on television. Plenty of studies have noted ban on cigarette advertising is critical to reduction of smoking and thus saving lives on a product that kills over 6 million people annually. A comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship could decrease tobacco consumption by an average of about 25% with some countries in West and Central Africa experiencing a decline in consumption of up to 38%.
The research is indisputable despite what a friend who happens to be a chain smoker may say. I met the 49 years old for a chinwag.I was adamant that smoking is a silent killer, and passive smoking is a dangerous menace that I cannot afford. Although he does not smoke while am around, he branded me a “slave of purity.” In the whole of Africa,an estimated 103,000 non-smokers die annually from heart and lung diseases due to exposure to smokers. As we continued with the chat, my friend who hails from Lusaka, Zambia rubbished my efforts to explain how second-hand smoke contains 6,000 different chemicals, of which 72 are said to cause cancer. As a “slave of purity”, I can no longer risk my future for the interest of having a friend or several of them. My friend’s arguments that the tobacco industry is a major employer in Africa and that tobacco farmers will be hurt and poverty levels would go up, is awfully mistaken. It is clear that the current regulations on cigarette advertising are not effective in most African countries. Time has come for coffin nails addicts to take firm stance against the tobacco industry by quitting smoking and saving millions of lives annually and billions spent on treatment.