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  1. 1
    046349

    Tobacco in developing countries: an economic approach to policy formulation.

    Lewit EM

    Washington, D.C., World Bank, Population, Health and Nutrition Dept., 1987 Jun. 114, [22] p. (PHN Techical Note 87-15)

    The issue of appropriate tobacco policies for less developed countries (LDCs), based essentially on the experiences of the more developed countries, is addressed. Following an overview of current trends in tobacco consumption and production and discussion of the health consequences of tobacco use, attention is directed to the rationale for government policy within the context of neoclassical welfare economics. Issues surrounding policy instruments intended to reduce the demand for cigarettes are examined as are production related policies. Finally, focus is on the question of the propriety of the World Bank's lending for tobacco projects. Available evidence from several European nations suggests that simply the discussion of smoking and health policies can have a noticeable effect on smoking. Leu (1986) reports that smoking declined in Switzerland following the health disclosures, but it declined more substantially following a public referendum (1979) on a complete advertising ban despite the fact that the ban was defeated at the polls. The evidence for information dissemination programs is impressive, yet such approaches have been criticized as inadequate on the basis that the reductions in smoking have not been large enough and that people continue to be inadequately informed about all the risks of smoking. Information based policies to control tobacco use have several advantages, including: they are noncoercive and reinforce an individual's prerogative to control his/her own life; they improve market functions; and they have an important impact on tobacco use and tobacco induced illnesses. Specific recommendations are outlined. Setting aside health considerations, from both a longterm and global perspective, the case for promoting tobacco production on economic grounds is shaky. Tobacco now typically is a profitable crop, yet much of its advantage stems from the various subsidies, tariffs, and supply restrictions that support its high price and provide economic rents for its producers. Health considerations aside, from both a longterm and global perspective, the case for promoting tobacco production on economic grounds is weak. Tobacco typically is a profitable crop at this time, yet much of its advantage stems from the various subsidies, tariffs, and supply restrictions that support its high price and provide economic rents for its producers.
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  2. 2
    033067

    Tobacco--its role in the economy and the health of African countries.

    Who Chronicle. 1985; 39(3):104-6.

    In Africa the issue of smoking and health is complicated by the fact that in many countries tobacco is grown commercially and is relied upon to bring in foreign exchange through export, of revenue for the government if sold on the home market. Consequently, in some nations the ministries of health and of agriculture are working at cross purposes. This contradiction is recognized in the report issued recently of a World Health Organization (WHO) seminar on smoking and health organized for English-speaking Member States of the WHO African Region, and held in Zambia. In opening the seminar, the prime minister of Zambia, Mr. N. Mundia, stated that governments had an obligation to educate people on the risks involved in the use of tobacco but that this could pose a moral dilemma where tobacco production made an apparently significant contribution to the economy. Additionally, he warned that developing countries are considered valuable markets by tobacco companies and stressed that if the promotion of tobacco products by such companies represented a threat "to the health of our people, we cannot let it happen." This point was endorsed by Mr. W.C. Mwambazi, the National WHO Program Coordinator who stated that smoking was on the increase in many developing countries as a result of unscrupulous marketing practices by cigarette manufacturers and that smoking was a major threat to the realization of health for all by the year 2000. Aspects of smoking and health that have special relevance for Africa are emphasized in the report. The few studies carried out in Africa tend to confirm findings from the developed world that smoking increases the risk of cancer and coronary heart disease. Not only is tobacco smoked in Africa, but it is chewed and taken as snuff, and these uses also entail a risk to health. Case studies included in the report show that transnational tobacco companies take full advantage of the present lack of legislation in most African countries on the promotion and use of tobacco. Health hazards are the primary reason why smoking controls are needed, but there are also economic arguments. Tobacco cultivation requires land that could otherwise be used for the production of much needed food. Curing tobacco leaves requires vast amounts of heat that is generated by burning either expensive (and usually imported) oil or timber, the consumption of which ultimately leads to deforestation, soil erosion, and desertification. Although tobacco may be cultivated primarily as an export crop, the country of origin rarely escapes the health hazards of smoking and their economic consequences, including increased cost of health care and absenteeism from work. According to the report, control measures should include the following: data collection; public information and education; and legislation. The report proposes that a functional committee on smoking control be established in the ministry of health to work especially within the primary health care machinery.
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