It’s always a bit of an adjustment to be in a state/country that allows you to smoke indoors. In Senegal, you can smoke literally anywhere, and it is very popular to do so. We passed a Philip Morris factory on our trip this past weekend, and it sparked a bit of a conversation on our bus. Although smoking is very common here, there is none of the advertising we have in America about the negative effects of smoking. Smoking is promoted, just as it was in America 20 years ago, when the information about its detrimental effects existed, but wasn’t so publicized.
The cigarette industry in America is difficult now. Younger generations are brought up with the knowledge that smoking is not good for you. We strongly encourage adult smokers to quit and offer all kinds of cessation help. The industry (and the consumer) is heavily taxed. So what have the companies done? Expand to the third world of course!
There is no tax on cigarettes here, no government requiring a proclamation of addiction and cancer risk, and a population that is generally seen as dispensable by the rest of the world. It’s always about money. It’s the same with medicine – pharmaceutical companies don’t make the effort to research diseases specific to third world nations because the people who need the medicine wouldn’t be able to pay for it anyways.
If it makes someone else rich, or if saving them would make someone else poorer, and since there are really soooo many of them on this African continent and they don’t have much to offer the world anyways – their lives aren't worth the money. But, hey, it's just business right?