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British American Tobacco's ‘East India Company-like’ expansion into Africa condemned in new reports

Two reports have slammed British American Tobacco's aggressive expansion into Africa, with researchers describing the UK giant as a modern-day 'East India Company willing to do almost anything to get the continent's booming youth population addicted to cigarettes. As cigarette use has fallen across the West, multi-billion pound tobacco companies like Phillip Morris and British American Tobacco (BAT) have set their sights on what they see as the last frontier - the world's youngest and fastest-growing continent.

Now sub-Saharan Africa - where health protections are far thinner and officials are sometimes easier to bribe - is one of the only regions on earth where cigarette sales are increasing.

It is estimated that more than 60 million Africans consume cigarettes and that