Cote d’Ivoire has become the first country in Africa to require plain packaging on tobacco products, according to the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK).
Pioneered in Australia, plain packaging legislation requires that cigarettes be sold in generic, uniform packaging free of colorful branding or designs. When implemented in concert with smoke-free public places, restrictions on tobacco advertising, increased tobacco taxes and warning labels on tobacco products, plain packaging is a powerful public health tool, according to anti-smoking activists.
To reduce the appeal of tobacco products, more than 20 countries have adopted plain packaging as part of a suite of tobacco control measures aimed at driving down smoking rates and preventing young people from starting to smoke.
In 2015, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation announced the creation of the Anti-Tobacco Trade Litigation Fund, which provides on-request support to low-income and middle-income countries that have been sued by tobacco companies opposed to plain packaging laws.
“The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids congratulates Cote d’Ivoire on bringing plain packaging to Africa where strong action is needed to prevent a tobacco epidemic—and stands ready to support this life-saving public health measure,” wrote Bintou Camara Biyeki, director of Africa programs at the CTFK.