Commentary: Tobacco control and tobacco farming in African countries
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During the past decade, tobacco leaf production has shifted from high-income countries to developing countries, particularly those in Africa. Most African governments promote tobacco farming as a way to alleviate poverty. The economic benefit of tobacco farming has been used by the tobacco industry to block tobacco control policies. The tobacco industry is active in promoting the alleged positive aspects of tobacco farming and in ‘protecting’ farmers from what they portray as unfair tobacco control regulations that reduce demand. Tobacco farming has many negative consequences for the health and well-being of farmers, as well as for the environment and the long-term well-being of the countries concerned. We provide an overview of tobacco farming issues in Africa. Encompassing multi-dimensional issues of economic development, there is far more to it than tobacco control questions.
KeywordsAfrica tobacco farming tobacco economics tobacco control
We thank Dr Shangnan Shui of the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization and Jean Paullin of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their advice. This research was funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Contract #23841. The authors’ work is also supported by the Fogarty International Center and the National Cancer Institute of the United States National Institutes of Health under Award Number RO1 TW009295.
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