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Senegal: Marlboro’s vigil
  1. David Simpson
  1. d.simpson{at}

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    In November, a small delegation from the American Cancer Society participated in the Fifth International Conference of the African Organization for Research and Training on Cancer (AORTIC). The conference was held in Dakar, Senegal, at the Hotel Sofitel-Teranga. A significant portion of the conference programme was, appropriately, devoted to tobacco control.

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    A pristine sports utility vehicle, emblazoned with the Marlboro logo, sits outside the entrance to the hotel where the recent annual conference of the African Organization for Research and Training on Cancer was held in Senegal.

    During most of the four days of the conference, a sports utility vehicle (SUV), immaculately clean (rare for Dakar) and finished in full Marlboro regalia, was conspicuously parked at the entrance to the hotel, in full view of all the delegates and others who passed by. There was no activity connected to the SUV—it was just parked there, with a driver always in attendance. Perhaps it was a coincidence or, more likely, a subtle statement from the tobacco industry to say, “We know you cancer people are in there deliberating, and we want you to know that we’re here, too—all the time.” Very subtle. Those with conspiratorial minds may even have seen it as vaguely threatening.

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