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Press Release 00/14

WITH 10 MILLION PEOPLE A YEAR EXPECTED TO DIE FROM TOBACCO-INFLICTED DISEASES BY 2030, FAO LAUNCHES NEW STUDY ON TOBACCO ECONOMY


Rome, 9 March 2000 - How government policies toward tobacco impact on the world tobacco economy is the focus of a new study launched by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) the agency announced today.

FAO and the Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA, have together contributed $250,000 to fund the FAO managed study. The World Health Organization (WHO), the World Bank, International Labour Organization (ILO) and national agencies will also cooperate. A small group of countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America have been selected for initial intensive analysis.

The work will provide detailed information on the underlying economic and social factors affecting tobacco production and consumption. It will analyze the effect that policy changes will have on agricultural production, employment, household income and food security and will project world tobacco supply, demand and trade under different scenarios.

The announcement follows a meeting at FAO Headquarters by the UN ad hoc Interagency Task Force on Tobacco Control headed by WHO. In addition to WHO and FAO, the Task Force meeting was attended by delegates from UNICEF, World Bank, UN International Drug Control Programme, International Civil Aviation Organization, The UN Population Fund, UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the UN Economic and Social Council, ILO, UNFIP, and the World Trade Organiztion, in additional to specialist observers from national organizations in the United States and Canada.

According to WHO, 4 million people die every year from tobacco-inflicted illnesses. This figure is expected to balloon to 10 million a year by 2030, with 70 percent of the deaths occurring in developing countries.

Despite the health concerns about tobacco use, the cultivation and manufacturing of tobacco products has continued to grow.

"Trade in tobacco has also expanded significantly, and the crop continues to be of considerable economic importance, particularly in a number of developing countries. Therefore, efforts to reduce tobacco use could be more effective if tobacco producers had access to economically attractive alternatives. FAO's work in this project has this objective in mind," said FAO Assistant Director-General Hartwig de Haen, announcing the new study.

The study, expected to be completed early in 2001, will provide policy makers with information about possible adjustment needs in the future.

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For further information contact:

John Riddle, Media Relations
Telephone: (39) 06 5705-3259
E-mail: john.riddle@fao.org
Web site: http://www/fao.org
FAO has been a smoke-free environment since 31 May 1998.


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