Why Tobacco Control Doesn’t Hurt Farmers: Decoupling Domestic Cigarette Consumption from Leaf Production

Opponents of tobacco control policies have argued that these policies negatively affect domestic farmers in low- and middle-income countries who rely on tobacco leaf for their livelihood. This white paper addresses these arguments by examining the global leaf market. It shows that tobacco-growing and the tobacco leaf market are largely, and often completely, independent of domestic tobacco control policies. In most countries, domestically cultivated tobacco leaf is an export crop, largely unaffected by domestic demand.

The white paper presents evidence from Brazil where the government has effectively advanced a comprehensive tobacco control policy without impacting domestic tobacco leaf production. Additionally, the paper presents the case of Turkey, where the government successfully reduced domestic tobacco production at the country-level without risking agricultural livelihoods.

The paper concludes with several policies recommendations. A corresponding policy brief can be found here.

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September 2019

Authors:
  • Maryam Mirza, German Rodriguez-Iglesias, and Evan Blecher