Sunday, February 17, 2008
Nigeria to sue Int. tobacco firms
The Nigerian Government is seeking more than $45 billion in compensation from the firms to meet the cost of treating smoking-related diseases, accusing tobacco manufacturers of putting pressure on the country's health services by targeting younger and younger people.
British American Tobacco (BAT), Philip Morris and International Tobacco Ltd, deny the claims and say they are socially responsible companies who do not target children.
The World Health Organization estimates that 18% of young Nigerians smoke, which will probably increase with the BAT setting up a factory in the West African country just recently. With a population of 140 million, most of whom are under 20, smoking can be the build up for a major health crisis.
For decades, tobacco firms have been accused of aggressively targeting Africa as a market to offset the impact of tougher anti-smoking regulations introduced in the west.