British Tobacco Giant Accussed Of ´Blackmail’ To Stop Ugandan Anti-Smoking Law

By Ann Brown Published: July 13, 2014, 12:00 pm

From The Guardian

One of Britain’s biggest companies has been accused of “blackmail” by a Ugandan MP spearheading tough new anti-smoking laws in his country.

British American Tobacco, in conjunction with other leading tobacco companies, is using its considerable financial clout to oppose Dr. Chris Baryomunsi’s private member’s bill aimed at curbing smoking in a country where cigarettes kill 13,500 people a year. Anti-tobacco campaigners see the bill as a watershed moment with significant consequences for cigarette companies.

Enó Isong, associate director, International Communications Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said European tobacco companies could not countenance a decrease in smoking rates in Africa. “Most western countries have put in place policies to blunt the tobacco industry,” he said. “It is very clear that the tobacco industry is shifting its market to Africa – a young market where they can bully their way around.”

In a letter to Baryomunsi, BAT Uganda confirmed that it will no longer do business with the 709 farmers in his Kihihi constituency that it normally buys from because his bill – and a related plan to raise tobacco taxes – has rendered the arrangement “increasingly less economically viable-“


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