How Vaping could disrupt Big Tobacco’s plans in Africa

Africa is poised to become the “future epicenter of the tobacco epidemic,” according to a new analysis from the American Cancer Society. It warns that the number of adults in Africa who smoke could increase to 600 million by 2100, from 80 million today, unless leaders take steps to curb current trends.

The report highlights several reasons for the increase in smoking rates:

  • In Africa, 9% of boys and 3% of girls smoke — both rates are high compared with other developing regions.
  • Africa is set for massive population growth. The region now accounts for 12% of the global population — this will climb to 30% by 2100. The study concludes that because of this, Africa will have the second-highest number of smokers of any region by 2060.
  • African nations experienced strong economic growth in the 2000s, which means more people have more money to spend on tobacco.

It’s a fact that many smokers in Africa are switching to vaping, amidst conflicting reports from health organizations and tobacco control organizations. If and when affordable vaping products are made available to the smoker in this region,this will decimate the tobacco industry .While the tobacco companies in Africa ( B.A.T, Philip Morris) can get into the vaping business, their own vape pens tend to be money losers.Who would want to swap out of an incredibly profitable business and into one that’s losing money?

Since the inception of vaping, Big Tobacco’s numbers started looking worse region to region. The only positive growth regions were Asia and obviously Africa. The vaping industry is expected to have a CAGR of 16.6% through 2022 and a market value of $27 billion according to Research and Markets’ report Global E-Cigarette Market Size, Share, Development, Growth and Demand Forecast to 2022. Bloomberg industries has predicted that by 2047 there will be more sales within vaping than the traditional tobacco industry. Given that the tobacco industry has been around for hundreds of years, to lose dominance within 30 years is a seismic shift.

There has been a huge decrease in the number of smokers since vaping products began to be distributed.This could potentially be a life-saving game changer for us here in Africa. They could end smoking in our generation.I am very excited about the future , and will continue advocating for these products to be legalized and made available to the smoker .