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FAO shares international concern over the harmful effects of tobacco smoking and the rising incidence of smoking-related diseases, which along with the resultant personal and social distress also lead to associated economic losses, not only in the developed countries but also in the developing world, where consumption continues to expand. FAO supports measures to curtail smoking, and within the context of interagency cooperation, particularly within the United Nations Ad Hoc Inter-Agency Task Force on Tobacco Control, FAO has undertaken a project involving a number of studies into various aspects of the global tobacco economy. This project, Tobacco Supply, Demand and Trade by 2010: Policy Options and Adjustment was supported by the Government of Sweden through its international development cooperation agency SIDA. These studies focus particularly on the potential effects, if any, that reductions in global demand might have on the economic conditions, earnings and food security of farming communities in developing countries particularly dependent on tobacco production for their livelihood. The underlying goal of this research is to provide a well defined and thoroughly researched analysis of economic issues as a basis for promoting the necessary international and national measures to achieve a healthier and more economically sustainable global environment.

This is the first of two volumes[1] to be published from the FAO project. It provides projections to the year 2010 of tobacco production, consumption and trade, and contains also a review of developments in the global patterns of production, consumption and trade since 1970.

More than any other agricultural commodity, the future of tobacco is likely to be influenced by the various policies adopted in individual countries to reduce smoking. These projections present the results of two alternative scenarios, one being a continuation of existing policies, the other the outcome of a more restrictive set of policies. However, we can only guess at the stance which governments around the world might adopt with respect to tobacco consumption in the course of the coming decade. Levels of production and consumption may prove to be much lower than these estimates in the event that aggressive anti-smoking policies are adopted, particularly in some of the major consuming countries in the developing world. Nevertheless, it is hoped that these projections will provide a useful framework by which to assess the likely future of the global tobacco economy.

[1] The second volume, Issues in the global tobacco economy: Selected case studies, is intended to provide a closer look at the tobacco economies of a few selected countries.

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