8 January 2004, Rome -- World
tobacco demand is expected to increase until the year 2010 due
to population and income growth, but at lower rates than in the
past, according to a new study published by FAO today.
While in developed countries tobacco
smoking is set to continue to decline, in developing countries
consumption will increase, the report said (Projections
of tobacco production, consumption and trade to the year
World tobacco production
is projected to reach over 7.1 million tonnes of tobacco leaf in
the year 2010, up from 5.9 million tonnes in 1997/99. This is
lower than the record tobacco production of 1992 of 7.5 million
The number of smokers is expected
to grow from 1.1 billion in 1998 to around 1.3 billion in 2010,
according to the report. This is an increase of about 1.5
Despite the overall
increase of tobacco use, FAO expects consumption per adult to
decline by around 10 percent by 2010, and individual consumption
will probably be around 1.4 kg per year (from around 1.6 kg in
Applying an aggressive anti-smoking
and anti-tobacco policy, tobacco consumption per person could
even drop by 20 percent, FAO said. Consumption per person is
declining in developed, and modestly declining in developing
countries, including China.
smoking is the most prevalent type of tobacco consumption;
manufactured and hand rolled cigarettes account for about 85
percent of all tobacco consumed worldwide. With around 320
million smokers, China is the world's major cigarette
About 100 countries produce
tobacco. The major producers are China, India, Brazil, the US,
Turkey, Zimbabwe and Malawi, which together produce over 80
percent of the world's tobacco. China alone accounts for
over 35 percent of world production.
By 2010, the share of developed countries in world
tobacco consumption is projected to be only 29 percent (1998: 34
percent), the share of developing countries will be 71 percent.
The overall pattern of tobacco consumption
is influenced by two divergent trends.
Tobacco demand in developed countries is declining
slowly and will reach about 2.05 million tonnes in 2010. This is
10 percent lower than the 2.23 million tonnes consumed in 1998.
This can be attributed to a slower population and income growth.
In addition, in developed countries an
increasing awareness of the damaging health effects of smoking,
together with the anti-smoking measures of governments including
intensified anti-smoking campaigns, the banning of advertising
and increased taxation, have had a strong negative effect on
consumption of tobacco products, the report said.
But more tobacco will be smoked in developing
countries, where tobacco consumption is expected to grow to 5.09
million tonnes by 2010 (from 4.2 million 1997/99). This is an
average annual growth rate of 1.7 percent between 1998 and 2010,
significantly lower than the 2.8 percent rate observed in
developing countries between 1971 and 1998.
A major part of the projected increase in demand is
expected to be in the Far East, particularly in China. The share
of China in total world tobacco demand is likely to remain
around 37 percent in 2010.
In India, the
second most important tobacco consumer, smoking of conventional
cigarettes accounts for only 25 percent. Most people consume
tobacco in the form of non-cigarette items such as hand-rolled
bidis, chewing etc. Total demand for tobacco in India is likely
to continue to increase, but more slowly than in the previous
In Latin America, tobacco use in
1998 was about 0.48 million tonnes, of which just over half was
in Brazil. Demand in the region is expected to increase modestly
until 2010, and most of the increase will occur in Brazil.
In Africa, total tobacco demand increased
in the 1990s with record growth of 3.5 percent per year. Growth
for the period to 2010 is expected to continue at a similar
In the Near East, the demand for
tobacco is expected to grow at 0.42%, a growth rate a little
lower than experienced in the 1990s (0.44%).
Tobacco production - a shift to developing
countries are expected to further increase their share in world
tobacco production, according to the report.
"Production policies supporting tobacco in
developed countries are under constant pressure and tobacco
profitability at farm level is expected to decline
further", the report said.
is expected to increase in countries where production costs are
low, there are no production restrictions, and good
transportation systems and access to international markets are
"With that in mind, we
might expect to see some further shift of cigarette
manufacturing, also, towards developing countries," the
report said. Cigarette production in developing countries is
already surpassing the production level of developed countries.
Reducing the demand
It is the higher demand for tobacco in the
developing countries that drives the world tobacco economy, the
report said. Public policy to reduce tobacco use should focus on
demand rather than supply, it suggested.
"Reducing demand in the developing countries
would be rather difficult given projected population and income
growth trends. Mitigating these trends, however, and reducing
consumption per adult using a combination of tax and direct
restriction policies, would also be an important achievement.
Reducing demand will in turn imply a decline in global tobacco
The tobacco study
was supported by the government of
Information Officer, FAO
(+39) 06 570