Rwanda- Country Profile
Rwanda is a small East African country with a population of 11.3 million.
Smoking in Rwanda
The Tobacco Atlas reported that in 2013, 16.3% of men and 2.7% of women used tobacco daily. According to the 2008 Global Youth Tobacco Survey, 13.5% of young males and 9.5% of young females aged 13-15 use tobacco products.
Tobacco, Poverty and the Rwandan market
The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in Rwanda remains low whilst the percentage of the population living in poverty, although decreasing from 56.7% in 2005, was still 44.9% in 2010. The combined approximate revenues of the world's six largest tobacco companies in 2013 was USD 342 Billion, 98% larger than Rwanda’s Gross National Income.
Rwanda is a tobacco growing country. Although not a major agricultural product in Rwanda (tourism, minerals, coffee and tea are Rwanda’s main sources of foreign exchange), according to the Food and Agricultural Organisation of the UN, leaf production increased from 3900 tonnes in 2002 to 5000 tonnes in 2012. Tobacco farming has been shown by the World Health Organization to perpetuate cycles of illness and poverty. Yet tobacco is appareantly seen as an attractive crop for poor rural farmers in Rwanda because of its low start up costs.
Who Dominates the Market?
Rwanda is of strategic importance for BAT operations in neighbouring countries. In 2006, BAT Rwanda underwent an operational restructuring and became the “centre of distribution and marketing excellence for the Rwanda-Burundi area”.
Roadmap to Tobacco Control
Rwanda became a party to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on January 17, 2006, and thereby became legally obliged to implement the evidence-based tobacco control measures associated with the Treaty. At the time of ratifying the FCTC, Rwandan tobacco control legislation was based on the 2005 Act for the Protection of Non-Smokers and Environment against Damages and Bad Consequences of Tobacco. This sought to provide protection to non-smokers, children and the environment from the dangers of second-hand smoke and smoking by regulating smoking in public places and the purchase of tobacco products.
Despite clauses within the FCTC that require ratifying countries to adopt and implement tobacco control measures within a certain time after signing the Treaty, Rwanda’s first tobacco control law after ratification took seven years to be enacted and was still not compliant with the FCTC. In April 2013, the Rwandan government passed The 2013 Act (Nº 08/2013 Relating to the Control of Tobacco). Key provisions within the law included:
- Public awareness and education campaigns;
- Protection against exposure to second-hand smoke;
- Regulation of Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS);
- A commitment to eliminating illicit trade;
- Administrative sanctions and penalties for non-compliance with the required measures.
Obstacles to FCTC Compliance
Many of the provisions of the 2013 Act are not compliant with FCTC standards. For example, the Act failed to comprehensively regulate against direct and indirect advertising of tobacco products as outlined in FCTC Article 13. It also lacked provisions to enforce graphic health warning labels as required by Article 11. Although there were measures for protecting the public from harmful effects of tobacco smoke, these too were not fully compliant with Article 8 as they allow smoking areas in all premises.
It is worth noting that is a common tactic of the tobacco industry to use its influence and leverage its political relationships to support the passage of weak tobacco control legislation, often because once some form of legislation is enacted, there is often less political will to develop further, stronger tobacco control legislation.
- FCTC Compliance in Africa
- Burundi- Country Profile
- Kenya- Country Profile
- Uganda- Country Profile
- Comoros- Country Profile
- A list of all TobaccoTactics pages on Africa
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