Discover the facts about smoking and the impact of tobacco use.

Tobacco in low- and middle-income countries

If current patterns persist, smoking will kill more than 8 million a year by 2030, of which more than 80% will occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Tobacco-related illnesses already kill 5.4 million people a year globally. If current patterns persist, smoking will kill more than 8 million a year by 2030, of which more than 80% will occur in low- and middle-income countries.

Tackling tobacco use can be shown to be crucial to any initiative on poverty reduction. Studies show that the poor are more likely to smoke, and the difference is even greater in low- and middle-income countries. Tobacco use deepens poverty as money spent on tobacco is money not spent on basic necessities such as food, shelter, education and healthcare.

The poorest households in Bangladesh spend 10 times as much on tobacco as on education.

In Uganda, 50% of men smoke, while 80% of the population lives on less than $1 a day.

One in five young Nigerians smokes cigarettes, while the number of young female smokers rose ten-fold during the 1990s

In 2007 a US media company, Forbes, calculated that the loss of income per smoker per year in Namibia was US$448.61. With just over 1 million smokers, the national income loss equates to about $461 million

In Egypt, more than 10% of household expenditure in low-income homes is on tobacco

In Indonesia, where smoking is most common among the poor, the lowest income group spends 15% of its total expenditure on tobacco.

A recent study carried out in India found that among men in the study who died at ages 30-69, smoking caused: 38% of all deaths from TB, 31% of all deaths from respiratory disease, 20% of all deaths from vascular disease and 32% of all deaths from cancer.


ASH, BAT’s African footprint, London, 2007

WHO, Report on the global tobacco epidemic, Geneva, 2008

The Oxford Health Alliance, Chronic disease: an economic perspective, London, 2006

World Health Organization, The Millennium development goals and tobacco control, Geneva, 2005

Prof Prabhat Jha et al, A nationally representative case-control study of smoking and death in India, New England Journal of Medicine, 358, 2008

ACS & UICC, The Tobacco Atlas, 2nd edition, 2006

European Commission, Tobacco or Health in the European Union: Past, Present and Future, Luxembourg, 2004


Cora M. Best, Kai Sun, Saskia de Pee, Martin W. Bloem, M.D., Gudrun Stallkamp and Richard D. Semba, Parental tobacco use is associated with increased risk of child malnutrition in Bangladesh, Nutrition, 2007

Rijo M. John, Crowding out effect of tobacco expenditure and its implications on household resource allocation in India, Social Science and Medicine, 2008

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