Sudan-Country Profile

This page was last edited on at

The Sudan, officially known as the Republic of Sudan, is a country in northeast Africa. It is Africa’s third-largest country at more than 1.8m square kilometres, and also the third-largest in the Arab world. It was the largest country in both categories before the secession of South Sudan in 2011.


In 2020, Sudan had a population of 43 million people.1 The life expectancy for Sudanese men that year was 65.3 years and for women, 67.2 years.2 Sudan is classified by the World Bank as a low-income country.3

Tobacco Use in Sudan

In 2016, 15.6% of Sudanese adults were tobacco users. Tobacco use in Sudan is significantly higher for men (27.9%) than women (0.8%). Youth tobacco use (ages 13-15 years old) is 11.7% overall. This also reflects a gender divide, with 14.5% of boys versus 7.3% of girls using tobacco.4

Product use is fairly evenly divided between smoked (9.6%) and smokeless (7.9%) tobacco in adults. Youth tobacco use leans more heavily towards smoked (8.3%) than smokeless (4.9%) products.4

Tobacco in Sudan

The Sudanese cigarette market was estimated to have sold 5,146.1 million sticks and be worth US$355.7 million in 2020 by Euromonitor International. The smoking pipe tobacco market was worth US$92.4 million in 2019.5

British American Tobacco (BAT) and Japan Tobacco International (JTI) both operate in the country. BAT operates through the Blue Nile Cigarette Company which it acquired in 2016.6 JTI operates through the Haggar Cigarette and Tobacco Factory (HCTF) which it acquired in 2011.78 Euromonitor does not have market share data available for Sudan.

Roadmap to Tobacco Control

Sudan signed the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in June 2004 and ratified it in October 2005.

As of 2021, Sudan has implemented bans on all forms of direct advertising of tobacco products across all forms of media (TV, radio, internet, print media), as well as promotional discounts and free distribution. It also mandates health warning covering 30% of the front of all tobacco products and implements a 73.4% ad-valorem tax on cigarettes. 9

In April 2021, Sudan was joined by 14 other countries from the Eastern Mediterranean Region in banning the use of waterpipes in all indoor and outdoor public places 9 Apart from this ban, Sudan does not, have any other smoke free places legislation. It also does not ban tobacco product display at point-of-sale or corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities.4 Though nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) and some cessation services are offered, neither are cost-covered by the government.10

Up to date information on tobacco control legislation around the world can be found on the Tobacco Control Laws website (published by the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids). You can search litigation by country, tobacco control measure, or type of legal action. The website also contains analysis and assessment of FCTC compliance, and policy factsheets. Parties to the WHO FCTC submit regular FCTC COP reports detailing their progress in implementing the treaty, which are presented in the FCTC Implementation database. Further information on countries’ progress in implementing the WHO recommended MPOWER measures can be found in the WHO reports on the global tobacco epidemic, a serious of biennial reports detailing status and compliance.

Tobacco Industry Interference

In 2011, JTI announced that it had acquired Haggar Cigarette & Tobacco Factory Ltd (HCTF) in both Sudan and South Sudan.11 In June 2020, Alarabiya-AlSudan news agency reported that Anis George Haggar, Chairman and majority shareholder of the Haggar Group,12 was selected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Central Bank of Sudan. 13[ In September 2020, the Bank added tobacco products to its list of “essential” products during the COVID-19 pandemic. After criticism from tobacco control advocates, the Bank apologised and withdrew its decision.1415

Sudan ranked 19th out of 57 countries in the 2020 Global Tobacco Interference Index (GTIII). The GTIII is produced by the Global Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control (GGTC), a partner in STOP, which is funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies.

The GTIII found that industry participates in creating the legislative standards for tobacco and benefits directly from a National Investment Law. It found that the government does not prohibit contributions from the industry to political parties or monitor its meetings with tobacco industry representatives. The industry has also used CSR activities to encourage partnership with government, including a ‘back to school’ programme and university construction costs, the opening of which was officiated by the President and the Minister of Industry.16

According to an investigation conducted by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) in February 2021, billions of cigarettes produced by British American Tobacco are smuggled every year through Mali to the northern region of Africa, reaching Sudan.17 The report alleged that: “Illicit cigarettes from the capital, Bamako, and ports in Guinea, Benin, and Togo are loaded into convoys with armed guards and driven north along thousands of kilometres of winding roads and desert tracks to Libya and Algeria, and as far east as Sudan.”17BAT has denied any wrongdoing.

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.

Relevant Links

BAT Sudan

Haggar Cigarette and Tobacco Factory Ltd. (JTI)

TobaccoTactics Resources

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


  1. World Bank, Country Profile: Sudan, undated, accessed July 2021
  2. World Bank, Sudan life expectancy 2020, 2021, accessed July 2021
  3. World Bank Country and Lending Groups, The World Bank, 2020, accessed July 2021
  4. abcWorld Health Organization, Country profile: Sudan, WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2019, accessed November 2020
  5. Passport, Tobacco market size: Sudan, Euromonitor International, accessed July 2021 (paywall)
  6. COMESA Competition Commission, CCC Merger Inquiry Notice No. 14 of 2016: Notice of Inquiry into the Acquisition of Blue Nile Cigarette Company Limited by British American Tobacco Middle East DMCC, 2016, accessed November 2020
  7. Japan Tobacco International, Sudan, JTI website,  undated, accessed November 2020
  8. Japan Tobacco Inc., JT to Acquire Leading Company in the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan, press release, 28 July 2011, accessed November 2020
  9. abWorld Health Organization, WHO REPORT ON THE GLOBAL TOBACCO EPIDEMIC 2021, July 2021, accessed August 2021
  10. The Tobacco Atlas, Sudan,, undated, accessed August 2021
  11. Japan Tobacco Inc., JT completes its acquisition of a leading tobacco company in the Republics of Sudan and South Sudan, JT press release, 1 December 2011, accessed November 2020
  12. Haggar, About, website, undated, accessed November 2020
  13. Central Bank of Sudan, Board of Directors, undated, accessed August 2021
  14. A.A. Al-Hassan, Has the state lost its balance? How do you judge? (translated from Arabic),, 20 September 2020, accessed November 2020
  15. The Pulse of Sudan, Sudan: The Ministry of Trade removes “tobacco” from the list of commodities and apologizes (translated from Arabic), NABD Sudan, 25 September 2020, accessed November 2020
  16. GGTC, STOP, Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020: Sudan, 2020, accessed November 2020
  17. abOCCRP, British American Tobacco Fights Dirty In West Africa, February 2021, accessed August 2021