British American Tobacco first started their African operations 100 years ago and to comemorate their anniversary Action on Smoking and Health has produced a report on the companies African footprint and growing presence in the continent. The report explores how they market their products to children, the environmental damage and deforestation and their influence on African political systems.
ASH staged a two part protest on the day of the Annual General Meeting on 30 April with youth activists from Salford to South Wales. It is impossible to estimate how many people in Africa die as a result of tobacco related diseases, mainly because many African countries do now have the resources and health care facilities to record the cause of death. However Professor Richard Peto estimates that for every one million cigarettes smoked one person will die as a result of a tobacco related illness. Based on BAT’s sales in Africa and the Middle East region we estimate that this causes at least 100,000 deaths a year. The young people left their own footprint outside BAT’s headquaters as shareholders and executives met prior to the AGM. 1000 shoes were laid out on the pavement with shoe representing a 100 deaths in Africa and the Middle East.
The second stage saw the young people demonstrating outside the Annual General Meeting and targeting shareholders and delegates. The BBC covered the event with Duncan bannatyne who is presenting a documentary of tobacco marketing in Africa which is due to be broadcast in July. Below are links to the report and pictures and a short film of the event.Link to the report: http://www.ash.org.uk/ash_zuufw093.htm.
Link to the pictures: http://www.ash.org.uk/ash_807tbr49.htm
Link to the You tube short film: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9nSr8jRcCc
If you would like to get involved next year please contact Debbie Millward at ASH by email: Debbie.Millward@ash.org.uk
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