mardi 23 septembre 2014

Tobacco in Cameroon

In Cameroon, the prevalence of smoking has stagnated around 17.5% of the population. And 37% of Cameroon's population are exposed to smoke in public places and is therefore exposed to health risk like smokers.
For every smoker who quits or dies, a young person starts smoking. Moreover, a study by WHO reveals that 15% of children less than 15 years are smokers. 44% of young students have already had their first cigarette stick and 6.4% received free cigarettes from officials of tobacco companies.

Tobacco volume sales continue to fall
Sales of tobacco continued to fall in 2013. Amidst high taxation, distribution was adversely impacted. Cameroonian law continued to strongly prohibit any form of advertising for cigarettes and other tobacco products, whether by means of radio or television broadcasting, displays or any other similar means. The ban also applies to any form of sponsorship or patronage highlighting cigarettes or other tobacco products as well as cross-border advertising engineered from within Cameroon. This law was the basis for a petition from anti-tobacco associations for the adoption of a national smoke-free law in Cameroon in 2013.
Anti-tobacco law still not ratified despite petitions from anti-tobacco organisations
Anti-tobacco groups such as the Cameroon Coalition against Tobacco (C3T) continued to petition for a national smoke-free law in Cameroon in 2013. However, this law was still not ratified. The petition recommends the banning of smoking in public places, thereby protecting non-smokers from the dangers of second-hand smoke. Despite this development, it is not expected that it will significantly impact smoking habits in Cameroon given the high level of enforcement required for the implementation of such legislation. Hence, advertising restrictions continued to have the strongest impact on distribution.
British American Tobacco remains the leading player
British American Tobacco (BAT) continued to lead volume sales of cigarettes in 2013, accounting for more than half of overall cigarette sales. In 2013, the company came under fire for illegal promotional activities. The Littoral regional bureau of the Cameroon Consumers League (CCL) officially wrote to BAT, decrying what it called the illegal display of stickers for one of its brands. The company was seen as violating Cameroonian law against tobacco advertising. Although BAT has enjoyed a favourable positioning compared with its major multinational rivals, the company’s performance may be negatively impacted if it ends up with a fine. This could favour the position of other players in the industry, such as Imperial Tobacco Group and Philip Morris International Inc.
Street vending remains the leading distribution channel
Informal distribution channels, such as street vendors, continued to account for the highest share of tobacco sales in Cameroon in 2013. This can be attributed to offering cigarettes by the stick and widespread availability in all neighbourhoods. However, this applies predominantly to cigarettes, with cigars being generally rare and only occasionally available in hotels/bars. Despite the popularity of supermarkets as a distribution channel, these retailers are generally reluctant to sell tobacco products in Cameroon.
Sales of tobacco set to continue to decline over the forecast period

Over the forecast period cigarette retail volume growth is expected to follow a similar trend to that seen over the review period – a slow but steady decline in sales. The unfavourable tax regime on tobacco products and stringent legal restrictions against advertising are expected to discourage tobacco distribution activities. Anti-tobacco organisations will likely continue their activities and push for the ratification of a tobacco-free law, hence the poor performance predicted over the forecast period for the industry.

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