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The 13th World Conference on Tobacco OR Health
Building capacity for a tobacco-free world
July 12-15, 2006, Washington, DC, USA
Objective: To talk about the link between tobacco use and the poverty level especially for poor and low income smokers and their families, and to discuss the myths surrounding economics of tobacco control.
Methodology: We will first map out the poverty level and the tobacco epidemic in developing countries to show the magnitude of poor people who would be affected by the consequences of tobacco use. Then we will examine the economic costs associated with tobacco use in poor families. From macroeconomic perspective we will discuss how tobacco use could affect the economy and the governments' development progress. Tobacco generates significant economic activity where governments desperately need more revenues or unable to generate employment opportunities do not want to take any action that would jeopardize the revenues and employment level. We will show how tobacco control could be win win situation for government and the public health.
Results: Tobacco aggravates poverty level of families by affecting health status of smokers (bread winners) and the foregone income for tobacco expenditures. Evidence clearly show that significant reduction of tobacco use would not only improve the health status of smokers but also allow them to allocate tobacco expenditures on other necessary household needs such as education and food. From macro economic perspective, given the significant opportunity cost of tobacco expenditures in Poor's household budget in many developing countries, such allocation would help alleviating the poverty level, and would generate better health which would contribute to development progress.