The negative effects of the use of tobacco on the life of the people are well known. But the strong relationship of tobacco use with poverty might never be taken in account. Tobacco contributes to the poverty through loss of income and skills as well as disease and death. It is in fact the poor and the poorest who tend to smoke the most. Another study concludes that smoking prevalence in men tend to be higher in lower and middle income economies. At country level, Tobacco consumption varies with the socio economic group. There are several ways in which tobacco increases the poverty at individual, household and national levels. At the individual and household levels the money spent on tobacco can have a very high opportunity cost. The poor spent on tobacco, a part of their basic necessities such as food, shelter, education and health. Tobacco also contributes to the poverty of individuals as they are at a much higher risk of falling ill and dying pre-maturely of cancers, heart attacks and other tobacco related diseases. Thus depriving their families of much needed income and imposing individual additional healthcare cost. Those who cultivate tobacco are also exposing themselves to great health hazards. At national level, countries suffer huge economic losses as a result of high health care costs as well as low productivity due to tobacco related illness and pre-mature deaths.
The important fact is that increased use of tobacco is among the poor. The poorest households in Bangladesh spent almost 10 times as much on tobacco as on education. In fact, the poor are surrounded in so much problems that they try to seek refuge in excessive use of tobacco to release their tensions. Thus we can conclude that one of the important reasons for the poor to remain poor is the excessive use of tobacco.
Some people think that the tobacco industry is also contributing a lot in eliminating poverty but the facts and figures reveal that the employment in the tobacco industry is negligible. The executives and the high level officials are obviously benefited a lot in this business but almost no incentive is given to the poor or low level employees. Over the past few decades, the production of the tobacco increased dramatically particularly in developing and under developed countries. The profit goes in the pockets of the foreign investors from the multinational companies and the most of the losses are to be borne by the poor countries. Another survey concludes that the combine revenue of the three largest tobacco processing companies is greater than the GDP of 25 countries.
Current projection show that the no. of smokers worldwide will increase from the current 1.3 Billion to more than 1.7 Billion in year 2025. The developed agencies, donors and health organizations are considering the use of tobacco is more than only a health issue. Thus there is an immediate need to control the excessive use of tobacco to reduce poverty as well as health hazards. The opportunity cost lost can be regained and utilized effectively to get rid of poverty. The most
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