Tanzania-Country Profile

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Tanzania, formally known as the United Republic of Tanzania, is an eastern African nation. It is the largest and most populous country in East Africa.


The population of Tanzania was estimated to be 59.7 million in 2020, about two thirds of which is under the age of 25.1 In 2019, the country had a median age of just 18 years. Life expectancy for men is 63.6years and 67.2 years for women. 2

Tanzania is a presidential republic. President John Mugufuli was sworn in for his second, five-year term on 5 November 2020.3 The World Bank classified Tanzania as a lower-middle income economy in 2021.4

Tobacco Use in Tanzania

In 2019, adult daily smoking prevalence in Tanzania reached 6%, according to the World Health Organization’s Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2021. 5. Every year, approximately 17,200 people die from tobacco consumption in Tanzania. 6

According to the latest figures, 12.4% of boys and 8.8% of girls were tobacco users. Smokeless tobacco use among young boys was 6.9% and among girls 5.5%.7

Tobacco in Tanzania

In 2018, 107,009 tonnes of tobacco were produced in Tanzania.8 Tobacco is the second-largest export crop in the country, representing approximately 30-35% of the yearly exports.9

According to Euromonitor International, the primary tobacco companies present in Tanzania are the Tanzania Cigarette Company (a subsidiary of Japan Tobacco International, JTI), which dominates the market at 96.1%, as well as British American Tobacco (BAT) with 1.3% and Philip Morris International (PMI) with 1.2%.10

In 2020, 5.2 million cigarettes were sold in the country. The cigarette market was worth TZS 900 billion (about US$3.88 billion) in 2019, and the cigars/cigarillos/other smoking tobacco market TZS 38.4 billion (US$165.6 million). Some smokeless tobacco products are also sold in Tanzania, including Swedish Match’s Red Man snuff and several e-cigarettes including Imperial Brand’s Blu. However, sales in this category remain negligible.10

Roadmap to Tobacco Control

Tanzania became a party to the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) on 29 July 2007.7Shisha tobacco was banned in 2016 for, among other reasons, a concern that young people were introduced to tobacco this way. It led to a reduction in the demand for smoking tobacco in the country.9

However, in-country legislation is not fully compliant with the WHO’s FCTC.11 The Tobacco Products Regulations Act (2003), and its ensuring regulations described in the Tobacco Regulations Act (2014) includes:

  • A ban on smoking in any enclosed public space;
  • A total ban on advertising in printed press, on television, on radio and online;
  • Sales or distribution of promotional items bearing references to tobacco companies or their brands;
  • Publicity of tobacco industry corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes, with sanctions including a fine or up to three years imprisonment;
  • Written health warnings in English and Swahili covering one third of the package’s surface (as of 2016)

Despite these positive measures, graphic health warnings are not required. Point-of-sale advertising is also permitted.9

In June 2017, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) held a meeting on the Implementation of Articles 17 and 18 at Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania. The meeting emphasized safeguarding farmers and the environment.12

Tobacco products were taxed in 2019 at a rate of 32.1%, which falls short of the WHO-recommended 70%.7 As of 2021, cigarettes were not less affordable than in 2010 in Tanzania, an indicator used for surveillance in the WHO report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic. 5

Tobacco Industry Interference

The tobacco industry is closely intertwined with policymakers and the government. The Tanzanian government owns shares in the Tanzania Cigarette Company.9 The tobacco industry was involved as a “stakeholder” in the formation of the Tobacco Products Regulations Act TPRA in 2003, according to a report from the Framework Convention Alliance (FCA) network, which oversees FCTC implementation.

In 2010, at the fourth Conference of Parties (COP4) to WHO FCTC, the delegation from Tanzania had the highest proportion of tobacco industry representatives. The delegate from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare claimed that he was “acting on instructions” when he opposed Articles 9 and 10.13 In 2019, the tobacco industry as a whole received an endorsement from the President while he was in Malawi to open the tobacco auction market there.14.

Tobacco industry-funded front groups are also active in the country. In 2010 and 2011, the International Tobacco Growers Association (ITGA) held meetings in Zanzibar and Tanzania. The Eliminating Child Labour in Tobacco-Growing Foundation (ECLT), which is funded by tobacco companies, launched a programme in the Urambo District, a major tobacco growing area of Tanzania, in November 2011.

The Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index (GTIII), which is authored by the Global Center on Good Governance in Tobacco Control ranked Tanzania 29th out of 34 countries in the 2020 Index, indicating “continuing interference” by the industry. It recommended that the country meaningfully implement Article 5.3 guidelines to avoid conflicts of interest, reject partnerships and agreements with the tobacco industry and implement measures to limit interactions with the industry. It recommended that a new tobacco control bill be tabled and legislated as soon as possible. Tobacco-related CSR activities must also be planned and a Code of Conduct established for government officials.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.

Relevant Links

Tobacco Tactics Resources


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  1. World Bank, Tanzania data, 2021, accessed September 2021
  2. World Bank, Tanzania country profile data, 2021, accessed September 2021
  3. The World Factbook, Africa: Tanzania, US Central Intelligence Agency, last updated 24 November 2020, accessed November 2020
  4. World Bank Country and Lending Groups, The World Bank, 2021, accessed September 2021
  5. abWorld Health Organization, Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic 2021, June 2021, accessed September 2021
  6. Tobacco Atlas, 2021, accessed September 2021
  7. abcWorld Health Organization, Country profile: United Republic of Tanzania, WHO report on the global tobacco epidemic, 2015, accessed September 2021
  8. Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, FAOSTAT: Crops, FAO website, accessed November 2020
  9. abcd
  10. abPassport, Company shares: Tanzania, Euromonitor International, September 2021 (paywall)
  11. STOP, Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2020: Tanzania, Country Summary, undated, accessed November 2020
  12. FCTC, Alternative Livelihoods to Tobacco Growing Global Meeting, 2017, accessed September 2021
  13. Tanzania Tobacco Control Forum, Implementation of the WHO Framework on Tobacco Control in Tanzania: 2007-2012, FCA shadow report, 2012, accessed November 2020
  14. abGlobal Center for Good Governance in Tobacco Control, STOP, Tanzania 2020 Tobacco Industry Interference Index, GTIII report, 2020, accessed November 2020