Category Archives: Canadian Neighbor Pharmacy
Central to the effective control of cigarette smoking is an appreciation of tobaccos economic standing throughout the world. Since its discovery, tobacco has played an important role in farm economics and international trade. As shown in Table 3, worldwide tobacco production and consumption have increased by more than 37 and 38%, respectively, over the past 20 years. Similar rates of increase are projected for the next decade. To be discussed later; developing countries are primarily responsible for this continued market expansion. Table 4 shows that shares of US cigarette exports have shifted most to Asian and African countries.
China in 1983 produced by far the largest proportion of the worlds tobacco (Table 5), followed by the United States, India, Brazil, and the USSR. Both China and Brazil have increased their worldwide production shares steadily over the past two decades, while the United States and Japan have become less dominant producers.
In addition to tobaccos contributions to gross national products and national employment rolls, governments realize considerable revenues from taxes on tobacco products and trade. Even in China, where the China National Tobacco Corporation controls tobacco from production all the way through marketing of manufactured products, nationwide plans to stabilize tobacco production are difficult to enforce because monetary returns to tobacco farmers remain high and local governments benefit from taxes. The development of substitute crops for tobacco is problematic. As a field crop, tobacco yields the highest monetary return per unit of land. It has very high labor and capital input requirements that make a switch to other crops difficult.
Any international discussion of smoking control would be parochial without mention of the special problems facing developing countries. Although there remains a paucity of precise information concerning tobacco use prevalence in developing countries, available data suggest an increasing epidemic of tobacco-associated disease in countries in which competing causes of death, such as infection and subnutrition, are coming under control. Widely entrenched smoking habits already have been associated with increasing cancer rates in developing countries with relatively young populations. In general, the countries where consumption of tobacco is growing fastest are the worlds poorest and hungriest. Reported smoking prevalence rates in men in selected developing countries illustrate the widespread nature of the habit: Nepal (60 to 85% in 1980), Sri Lanka (48% in 1968), Thailand (51% in 1976-1981), Brazil (52% in 1983), and Zambia (63% in 1984).
A major contributor to these observed increases in smoking prevalence is the tobacco industry’s aggressive marketing system in the Third World. Cigarettes are readily available, highly visible, and a source of employment for many. In Kenya, for example, there are 40,000 to 50,000 tobacco retailers — twice the number of individuals with television sets. (This feet minimizes the effect of a tobacco industry agreement to ban TV commercials in the country.) Tobacco companies also provide ready technical assistance to farmers growing tobacco.
As shown in Table 11, the annual average consumption of tobacco in developing countries, especially in Latin America, increased from 0.79 to 0.81 kg per person per year in the mid-1970s, compared with decreases worldwide (1.17 to 1.15) and more markedly in developed countries (2.11 to 2.02).