A new study has revealed that people living in poor countries are exposed to more intense and aggressive tobacco marketing than those living in affluent countries.
According to the study, tobacco marketing, which drives the uptake of smoking especially among young people, is still thriving despite many countries’ efforts to ban it.
Anna Gilmore of the University of Bath said that the tobacco industry uses marketing to drive the uptake of smoking among children and young people.
Studies show that the more adolescents are exposed to tobacco marketing, the more likely they will smoke as adults.
Gilmore and his team found that in low-income countries 64.2 percent of selected stores sold single cigarettes compared with just 2.8 percent in high-income countries.
They also found that tobacco advertising was at its most intense in the low-income countries studied (India, Pakistan and Zimbabwe), where they observed 81 times more tobacco advertisements per study community than in the high-income countries (Canada, Sweden and the United Arab Emirates).
Researcher Armando Peruga of the WHO said that the study findings reflected that comprehensive bans of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship were one of the tobacco control measures least adopted by countries, particularly low-income countries.
It is projected that tobacco use will cause 8.4 million deaths by 2020, 70 percent of which will occur in developing countries, where about 900 million smokers live.
Peruga said that people must now recommit themselves to their global tobacco control efforts so that everyone, all over the world was protected from the tobacco epidemic.
The study is published in the Journal Bulletin of the World Health Organisation.