As regulations in the middle – and high-income countries become more and more strict, the tobacco industry is turning its attention to Africa to boost production. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports this in a new report today.
According to WHO, producing tobacco in the continent increased by 3.4 percent between 2012 and 2018. Production volume increased by 10.6 percent in the same period. This is at odds with the global downward trend. In the same period, 13.9 percent less tobacco was produced worldwide, and the area used decreased by 15.6 percent.
The combination of increased production and more aggressive marketing also means that more tobacco is used in Africa. The sales market grew from 64 million users in 2000 to 73 million in 2018. At the same time, the number of users worldwide fell from 1.40 billion to 1.34 billion.
Tobacco is mainly popular in North African countries such as Djibouti, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Somalia, and Tunisia. Those six countries together account for at least 19 million users.
Tobacco use is one of the greatest health problems worldwide. Every year, according to the WHO, more than 8 million people die from its effects.