Comoros- Country Profile

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Comoros is an African island located off the east coast of Mozambique and to the northwest of Madagascar is one of the world’s poorest countries.1 The population of Comoros was estimated at 897,000 in October 2020 by the International Monetary Fund. 2

Smoking in Comoros

According to the World Health Organization Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking 2000-2025, the smoking prevalence in the country by 2020 was 21.9%. 3 According to the Tobacco Atlas, every year more than 200 people die of tobacco-related disease in Comoros, while more than 55,000 people over the age of 15 years old use tobacco each day.4

Roadmap to Tobacco Control

In 2006, Comoros ratified the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).5 In an attempt to address the tobacco epidemic and protect public health, the government of Comoros has since been developing tobacco control legislation.6 In May 2010, four years after becoming a party to the FCTC, the government introduced a legislative health order aimed at limiting smoking on public transport and advertising of tobacco products.7

A summary of how Comoros’s measures up to the WHO’s MPOWER measures can be seen below (Image 1):

Image 1: The WHO MPOWER summary for Comoros, 2019. (source: World Health Organization 8

More recently, in 2011, the Law on Tobacco came into force.9 Although the law covers the following areas and introduces penalties for non-compliance, it is not compliant with the FCTC:

  • Partial protection against exposure to tobacco smoke;
  • Partial regulation of Tobacco Advertising Promotion and Sponsorship (TAPS);
  • Text only health warnings;
  • Restrictions on sale of tobacco to minors.10

A number of subsequent legislative health orders have since been adopted to strengthen specific areas of the Law, including the introduction of health warnings covering 40% of the “total surface area of each one of the principal surfaces”.11 Similarly, an Inter-ministerial order, enacted in April 2013, provided clear guidance on the criteria of those to be considered “tobacco vendors” and required that points-of-sale for tobacco products have a “notice panel reminding people of the danger associated with tobacco consumption”.12

Obstacles to Implementation

Nevertheless, these measures fail to comply with the standards required by the FCTC, highlighting the need for stronger measure to achieve FCTC compliance.
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.13

It is also important to mention that as suggested by Tobacco Control Laws, the legal measures in effect in Comoros are complicated to interpret and implement due to inconsistencies and contradictory provisions in the law and implementing instruments. Therefore, the regulatory status code and analysis of the measures may be subject to several alternative interpretations, leaving loopholes for the tobacco industry to take advantage. 14

Extensive research published in 2021 by the Tobacco Control Research Group at the University of Bath, a partner in STOP, and in conjunction with BBC’s Panorama, The Bureau of Investigative Journalism and the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project uncovered multiple instances of British American Tobacco seeking to frustrate tobacco control measures in Africa.

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. Central Intelligence Agency, The World Factbook, accessed November 2015
  2. IMF, Comoros country profile, October 2020, accessed December 2020
  3. WHO, Global Report on Trends in Prevalence of Tobacco Smoking 2000-2025, 2018, accessed December 2020
  4. Tobacco Atlas, Comoros country profile, 2020, accessed December 2020
  5. World Health Organization, FCTC Implementation Database – Comoros, 2014, accessed October 2015
  6. CTFK, Tobacco Control Laws, Country Details for Comoros, accessed October 2015
  7. Ministry of Health, Solidarity and Gender, The Government of Union of Comoros, Ministry of Health, Administrative Order No. 018 /MSSPG/CAB, 24 May 2010, accessed November 2015
  8. WHO, MPOWER Comoros 2019 country profile, 2020, accessed March 2021
  9. The Government of the Union of Comoros, Law No. 11-002/AU of 27 March 2011 on Tobacco Control, 14 July 2011, accessed October 2015
  10. Ministry of Health, Solidarity and Gender, The Government of the Union of Comoros, Law No 11-002/AU of March 27 2011 on tobacco control, April 2011, accessed October 2015
  11. Ministry of Health, Solidarity and Gender, The Government of the Union of Comoros, Ministry of Health Order No. 13-012 on Provisions for the Implementation of the Law of March 20, 2011 on Tobacco Control, 10 April 2013, accessed October 2015
  12. Minsitry of Health, Solidarity and Gender, The Government of the Union of Comoros Interministerial Administrative Order No. 13-019 on Provisions on Points of Sale for Tobacco Products, 27 April 2013, accessed October 2015
  13. A.B. Gilmore, G. Fooks, J. Drope, S.A. Bialous, R.R. Jackson Exposing and addressing tobacco industry conduct in low-income and middle-income countries, The Lancet, 14 March 2015, accessed July 2015
  14. Tobacco Control Laws, Comoros, 2020, accessed December 2020