Tobacco (54) Q3. What is the role of the tobacco industry? (4)

13 March, 2023

The tobacco industry is no exception in the global business, where businesses primarily aim to make profits. The World Bank reports that cigarettes are extensively traded and profitable commodities whose production and consumption impact developed and developing countries' social and economic resources. Thus, the industry not only spends resources on making, marketing, and selling tobacco products but also spends considerable time and money funding and promoting misleading science, lobbying, and performing so-called corporate social responsibility activities. Besides, tobacco farming, processing, and product manufacturing create jobs and generate considerable revenues for governments where these products are manufactured.

However, all said, reports indicate that there is no safe smoking option in any form, as tobacco is always harmful, whether light, low-tar, filtered cigarettes, or e-cigarettes aren't any safer. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports indicate that tobacco kills more than 8 million people yearly. At the same time, more than 7 million deaths result from direct tobacco use, and around 1.2 million results from non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. Moreover, over 80% of the world's 1.3 billion tobacco users live in low- and middle-income countries. The aforementioned poses a serious concern to the policymakers and authorities because, given the low levels of resources, poverty, and other logistical support, most of the tobacco industries in these countries are foreign.

Thus, the tobacco epidemic is another biggest public health threat the developing world has ever faced, in addition to the climate-health nexus and poverty, which all but need a global effort to combat. The good news is these efforts are starting to show up. WHO lays down the following measures;

- Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies;

- Protecting people from tobacco use;

- Offering help to quit tobacco use;

- Warning about the dangers of tobacco;

- Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising;

- Discouraging the promotion and sponsorship of the tobacco industry.

Particularly WHO supports countries and areas to strengthen tobacco control by developing and implementing comprehensive policies and measures. The World Bank's Global Tobacco Control Program assists country teams in policy dialogue and technical support to government teams at the Ministries of Finance and Ministries of Health regarding tobacco economics. In addition to other such efforts not mentioned here, the journey to NO SMOKING will sooner or later yield to a public health global outcry.

HIFA profile: James Mawanda is accredited with the European Forum for Disaster Risk Reduction (EFDRR), and UN Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2022) and a Member of the UNDRR Stakeholder Engagement Mechanism. James is an Associate Partner, at the Interdisciplinary Centre on Climate Change and Health (ICCH), University of Hamburg, Germany. Member, Global Consortium on Climate and Health Education, Columbia University. A member of the Global Health Hub, Germany. Also, a Mentor, International Network for Government Science Advice, Africa Chapter (INGSA-Africa), South Africa, and Mentor, Land Accelerator Africa by World Resources Institute (WRI), A Research Associate, Uganda Red Cross Society. James is a member of the Research4life User Group. He is also a Country Expert (Uganda & Rwanda) for Varieties of Democracy (V-DEM), University of Gothenburg, Sweden, since 2020. An Executive Director of African Forum for International Relations in Research and Development (AFIRRD). A member of the African Climate Policy Centre (ACPC) & United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). James holds a Ph.D. in Diplomacy & International Affairs. James’ research interests span; International Organizations (IOs), particularly their conceptual prescriptions to the developing world; non-government organizations (NGOs) and their socio-political work in the developing world; and global climate policy and health dynamics, diplomacy and negotiations. He is an International Research and Project Assistant, EUCLID University, An Editorial Board Member, International Peer-Reviewed Journals and Books (IPRJB), USA. He is a reviewer at Global Council for Science and the Environment (GCSE), Washington DC; and VOLUNTAS: International Journal of Voluntary and Non-profit Organizations. Uganda’s “ambassador” on The Council on Educational Standards and Accountability in Africa; Member, Platform for African – European Partnership in Agricultural Research for Development Phase II (PAEPARD II); Human Development & Capability Association (HDCA)- HDCA Southern African Network; Member, Africa Community of Practice (CoP) on Forgotten / Underutilized Food, by the Forum for Agricultural Research in Africa (FARA); Member, FAO’s Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum).