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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Social disruption caused by tobacco growing


Communities and countries experiencing poverty, high unemployment, and economic reliance on tobacco growing are vulnerable to predatory tobacco industry behaviour. This analysis presents a cross-national survey of social disruption in tobacco farming to illustrate the association between tobacco companies and tobacco-related child labor, poverty and environmental destruction. The health risks of tobacco farming are beyond the scope of the study. Data on social disruption in tobacco farming was obtained through newspaper stories, published and unpublished reports, scholarly literature, documentary films, and tobacco industry publications such as annual reports and websites. The analysis shows that in all World Health Organization regions (Eastern Mediterranean, Africa, Europe, the Americas, South East Asia and Western Pacific) tobacco farming involves child labor and deforestation as well as tobacco industry behaviour promoting disruption in social and environmental life in tobacco farming communities. Tobacco companies generate huge externalities forcing farmers and consumers to pay the costs and concealing the actual cost of tobacco leaf and other tobacco products.

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