Fifty-three percent of African children are exposed to cigarette advertising on electronic media and seventy two percent are attracted to the deadly habit from billboards and other forms of outdoor advertising according to a recent study by an American Health firm. These results are from a recent survey conducted to assess the damage on African Child Protection.When a child is so extensively exposed to cigarette advertising, it is no surprise that many Africans start smoking when very young. Africa is one of the region among a handful worldwide regions that still permits cigarette advertising on electronic media.World Health Organisation report on Africa two years ago noted that a ban on cigarette advertising is critical to reducing smoking and thus saving lives in the continent of more than 1 billion people. According to researchers, a comprehensive ban on all tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship could decrease tobacco consumption by an average of about 20 percent in Africa and where laws have been applied, some countries are reporting a decline in consumption of up to 30 percent.
The research is indisputable despite what tobacco companies may say. Smoking is a silent killer and second-hand smoke is a growing menace. In the East African region alone, an estimated 50,000 non-smokers die each year from heart and lung diseases due to exposure. Second hand smoke contains 6,000 different chemicals, of which 70 cause cancer. So what are the African governments waiting for.Me think they must join the world in banning all cigarette advertising of any form immediately. The poorest region in the world can no longer risk the future of its youth and the continent as a whole for the interest of a small group of people. The government’s arguments that the tobacco industry is a major tax payer and that tobacco farmers will be hurt is growing weaker. It is clear that the current regulations on cigarette advertising are not effective. The time has come to take a firm stance against the tobacco industry.