Big Tobacco Aims for Africa

Bans may be driving smoking away in America, but there’s one place where cigarettes are in high demand: Africa. Big Tobacco, now in retreat in the West, is waging a battle for the “hearts, minds and lungs of new smokers” across the second-most-populous continent, according to Time. Africa still has the lowest smoking rates in the world—largely because people can’t afford the habit—but that’s about to change. Cigarette brands have ratcheted up their marketing efforts, and Philip Morris has just completed a factory in Senegal. It’s the threatening “single-stick model”—where vendors break open a pack and sell single sticks to people—that might get Africa hooked. This also keeps warning labels on boxes out of sight, and, of course, fuels the addiction among the young, poor, and uneducated. And so far, it’s working: an anti-tobacco counselor estimates that 200 children in Nigeria begin smoking every day.