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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: This research project attempted to further micro-level understanding of the economic and social consequences of tobacco use.
Methods: The research project was a cross-sectional, commune-based, randomized study that compared expenditure data for two study groups: a) Households without smokers and b) Households with smokers. The study was conducted in 5 provinces in Vietnam with 1158 households. Of these, 680 were with smokers and 478 were without smokers
Results: 54% adult men in the study sample smoked. The mean annual household expenditure for tobacco was approximately US$39.75. The study demonstrated a direct relationship between wealth index and expenditure on cigarettes, in that households who were in the highest wealth index spent 3.6 times more on cigarettes than households in the poorest wealth index. Households without smokers spent more on food per person per year than did households with smokers. Households without smokers spent more on education than did households with smokers. For the very poorest households, households with members who used tobacco spent 6 times more money on tobacco than on education. Wide differences also existed in proportional spending on tobacco and basic needs by wealth index. If households that were “food poor” were to reallocate their tobacco expenditures to food expenditures, 11.3% of the smoking food poor households could escape from food poverty.
Conclusions: Tobacco control represents a potential strategy for poverty reduction and improved child health. For the very poor households, the damage is exacerbated as tobacco expenditures represent a larger proportion of their annual household income.