Cancer and Tobacco Control

S. Korean tobacco firm ‘depicts African farmers as monkeys’

Written by Wilma Stassen

African tobacco control activists have launched a campaign calling for a South Korean company to pull its “This Africa” cigarette brand.

ThisAfrica-1The African Tobacco Control Alliance, a Pan-African tobacco control organisation, has called on South Korea’s largest tobacco manufacturer, KT&G, to pull the brand, which features a caricature of monkeys roasting tobacco leaves, the Korean Herald reported earlier this month.

The company claims that “This Africa” cigarettes contain specialty tobacco leaves that are roasted and dried in traditional Africa style.

“We are deeply offended by KT&G’s shameless and insulting use of this mocking imagery that belittles the growing tobacco epidemic in Africa, and disregards the fact that child labor, poverty, and exploitative practices continue to plague tobacco farming in Africa,” said the African Tobacco Control Alliance in a statement. “Mocking Africa to sell a product that causes death and disease is unacceptable, and we will not stand for the exploitation of Africa by tobacco companies.”

Nearly six million people die each year from lung cancer, heart disease, and other tobacco related-illness. By 2030, it is estimated that tobacco-related diseases will be the leading cause of death in Africa.

“KT&G’s misappropriation and exploitation of Africa to sell its product of death and illness to Koreans is at a minimum culturally insensitive – and at worst another form of oppression and exploitation that African peoples have faced for decades,” added the African Tobacco Control Alliance. “We, as Africans, do not want our name to be used to sell death and disease to the people of South Korea. “ – Health-e News Service.

About the author

Wilma Stassen

Wilma Stassen is a reporter at Health-e News Service. She focuses on non-communicable diseases. Follow her on Twitter @Lawim