Tobacco is an economic threat to individuals, countries and the world.
Tobacco use is higher among the poor. Their addiction to nicotine drives them to spend a relatively large proportion of their income on tobacco that cannot be spent on basic human needs such as food, shelter, education, and health care. This trend coupled with the high cost associated with dealing with tobacco-related diseases deprives poor families of much needed income. In the case of the poorest—where a significant portion of their meager income is required to buy food—expenditures on tobacco can mean the difference between an adequate diet and malnutrition.
The poor continue to lose while tobacco companies reap enormous profits from year to year—and while they have an explicit strategy to increase sales in the poorest parts of the world.
For this reason, policies and interventions focusing on smoking prevention among the poor are a key component of national and international efforts to improve the wellbeing of less affluent populations.
The post-2015 development agenda aims to eradicate poverty around the world. Tobacco use kills and impacts more people in low-income countries than rich countries; therefore it impedes progress towards reducing poverty. The world must take steps to ensure that tobacco use is no longer an impediment to global development.
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