The tobacco industry is prone to more attention because the
products being manufactured and marketed; while legal, is known to cause severe
health issues such as cancer, heart disease, stroke and even premature death.
Tobacco products are profitable commodities as well as a major health hazard. Tobacco
companies make products and promote them in a way that allows them to remain
profitable and increase their production and consumer consumption despite the
link of to severe health concerns.
In today’s world there are various sources of data that show
a definite link to smoking and determinate health concerns. It is evident that
tobacco has various negative effects on users including that it kills users or they end up with severe health
issues, It can worsen poverty and world hunger by divert food
production, it can cause damage the air
and environment, and while it transnational companies do employ
individuals it can be looked at as a waste of labor, resources and capital.
1: Annual Deaths Attributable to
Cigarette Smoking—United States, 2005–2009
Tobacco is one of the biggest businesses in our world.
Tobacco plants are prevalent to the American regions and a major crop grown by
U.S farmers. Cultivated for its leaves after they have dried, it is then
treated for chewing and or smoking. The major tobacco manufacturing countries
today are China, Brazil, India, USA and Indonesia. In fact the China National
Tobacco Co. is the leading tobacco company today by volume. After several
mergers and acquisitions during the 1990s and 2000s, 4 companies have dominated
in this market internationally; they are Philip Morris International, Japan
Tobacco, British American Tobacco and Imperial Tobacco.
The liberalization of trade of tobacco has led to the reduction
of prices on tobacco products of e importing countries because countries can
now compete with each other due to moderate prices of foreign tobacco products.
The international trade agreements in place have allowed us to deliver numerous
significant opportunities to the for the tobacco industry to secure and
maintain its long standing power and influence.
As international financial institutions and international
trade continues to rises so does their influence on public health and it has
become crucial that challenging priorities be assessed and evaluated sensibly.
Leaders and the governments that regulate and determine trade policies as well
as economic policies need to develop initiatives and strong policies that
safeguard the public health, protect human rights and the defend population
health. Any trade off ought to be made with paramount thought.
can bring pleasure to users and is a tool used for releasing stress and
bringing calm to consumers. In addition,
tobacco products have a unique link to the personal and social identities of
individuals. Therefore there is a huge demand for these products. If steps were
to be taken to curb the tobacco industry, one of the largest sources of revenue
for the government, there may be negative repercussions. Since tobacco products
are legal then the manufacturing and distribution of tobacco products are
legal. Therefore, transnational companies such as Phillip Morris and BAT are
not doing anything unethical about the organization manufacturing, selling or
marketing those types of goods to people who can legally purchase them.
Many cultural influences govern tobacco usage within several
global populations particularly for migrants who have shared a mutual area of origin;
part of ethnic uniqueness may powerfully sway culturally specified tobacco
patterns. As a traditional characteristic smoking is renowned in music,
movies, plays and literature. Idolized movie stars have imparted a sense of
glamour and romance to this habit with the portrayal of super heroes achieving
the impossible with a cigarette in their hands. The prevalent use tobacco and
tobacco products are higher in numerous nations, particularly in Asia, the
Mediterranean, and sub-Saharan Africa (The Tobacco Atlas, n.d.).
Cigarette use globally.
Figure 3: Top
cigarette-consuming countries in 2014 (in trillion cigarettes)
shows that China is noted as the biggest consumer of tobacco products. It also
reflects that China consumed 2.57 trillion cigarettes in
2014, whereas Russia and the United States rounded up the top 3 countries in
cigarette consumption (“Tobacco Industry,” n.d.).
percentage of tobacco smokers in the United States has been on the decline and
this can be contributed to the access of knowledge on the effect and impacts of
smoking. Americans now look towards living cleaner and longer lives and with
the knowledge that smoking can significantly hamper your life and lead to
cancer or even death more individuals are prone to quitting. Whereas in the
Chinese culture smoking is a connection to masculine identity. It is a societal
form of acceptance or brotherhood. In addition, the lack of public education
can be attributed to the high levels of smoking in China and the Chinese
government largely relies heavily on the tobacco industry.
influences the way the world does business for all goods and services,
including tobacco (“Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control,” n.d.).
Though evidence demonstrates that the liberalization of the tobacco trade will result
in the eradication of import hurdles this still leads to momentous growths in
consumption, far less is identified about the effect of foreign direct
investment on cigarette consumption.
it’s an evolving or developed world, foreign direct investment is more vital now
in catalyzing growth, (Burnson, n.d.). The tobacco industry is one of the
most profitable long-term investments in the stock market, but it has not been
without controversy. Tobacco industries are known to utilize international
trade agreements as an opportunity to open in markets in middle or low income
countries leading to increased consumption use and profitability of the
transnational companies. On the flip side there have been numerous studies that
show a link to significant tobacco use and severe health risks and premature
the United States majority of investor’s concentrate on the local domestic
cigarette market, as this happens to be one of the largest markets in the world.
However, the Chinese people happen to be the biggest smokers of cigarettes of
any nation, and even on a per-capita basis, Russia and other nations in the
Eastern European region have higher smoking rates than the U.S (Caplinger,
2014). Tobacco is quite frankly not like other any other customer products in
the market and as such not be treated in the same way in trade and investment
The Top 5 Largest International Tobacco Companies
industry damages the environment in many ways, and in ways that go far beyond
the effects of the smoke that cigarettes put into the air when they are smoked.
The critical consequence of the tobacco industry on weather or climate change,
deforestation, litter, and the total sum of forest fires are enormous and uninterruptedly
growing (“Environmental Harm,” n.d.).
5 below shows the amount of energy used to make
tobacco products as reported by some companies as reported by the World Health
Total reported energy use of major tobacco companies.
Transnational tobacco companies are the biggest consumers of
energy mainly in the production or manufacturing process. Several of the main
environmental costs of one tobacco product alone such as a cigarette can amount
to huge amounts of water, energy and other resources to be able to manufacture
the product and there is a large amount of waste also generated in the
production process (WHO, n.d.). A typical cigarette producer location consumes about
sixty thousand MWh of energy per year. Approximately fifty five percent of the
energy that comes from burning fossil fuels (mostly coal, fuel oil, and/or
natural gas) along with the outstanding forty
five percent coming form an electricity supplier (“Tobacco Solutions –
The manufacturing and logistics operations of tobacco
companies utilize the most energy and resources. Several transnational tobacco
companies recognize the need to reduce environmental impacts of their
operations to reduce the carbon footprint while addressing their energy use.
Some companies have noted there is a need to explore and implement prospects
for renewable energy. This will call for these businesses to adopt alternative
renewable resources and technologies.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has promoted the lifting of trade
restrictions on tobacco and the privatization of state-owned tobacco industries
as part of its loan conditions (Gilmore A , et al., n.d.). The privatization of
the tobacco industry will only stimulate tobacco use in borrowing countries.
The IMF’s action will lead to the increase use of tobacco products.
World Bank Group’s Global Tobacco Control Program (GTCP) supports all countries
fostering and implementing tobacco tax reforms to attain public health objectives
by reducing tobacco affordability and consumption, and for mobilizing domestic
resources to expand the fiscal space to fund priority programs and investments
that use the whole populace, and monitoring illicit trade on tobacco by supporting
customs systems (“Tobacco,” n.d.). Back in 1991, the World Bank sanctioned
a mandatory operative plan not to loan, invest in, or promise investments or credits
for tobacco manufacturing, marketing or production. The World Bank’s actions in
the health sector is to dishearten the usage of tobacco and tobacco products,
with the hope that higher taxes on tobacco products will reduce tobacco intake
and progress community health and rising government revenues that can be used
to fund priority investments and programs aimed at helping the whole
International law does not have a Parliament and not anything
can really be labeled as legislation. While there is an International Court of
Justice and a range of specialized international courts and tribunals, their
jurisdiction is critically dependent upon the consent of States and absence of what
can be defined as obligatory control of the kind possessed by national courts
(Greenwood, n.d.). The tobacco industry has an
extensive history of using trade agreements to expand into new markets. In fact
transnational firms turn to trade and investment agreements to contest the
measures put in place to decrease tobacco use. The tobacco industry has been
long plagued with its use of litigation to interfere with tobacco control
legislation in addition of its common strategies of spreading misinformation
via the its mass media campaigns, its lobbying and exploitation of loopholes
within the tobacco control laws.
The key organization in the governance of international trade
and investment is the World Trade Organization (WTO).
The first public health treaty, the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control
(FCTC) expressed “concern of international communities on the disturbing
worldwide health, social, economic, and environmental concerns of tobacco
consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke” (The American Society of
International Law, n.d.). The WHO FCTC was established in reaction to the
globalization of the tobacco epidemic. The large scope of the tobacco endemic
is aided by a range of multifaceted aspects with cross-border effects,
including trade liberalization and direct foreign investment.
Our inundated culture,
circumstances, stress, peer pressure and advertising all seem to be factors
that promote the use of tobacco. In an effort to further their market growth
the industries top tobacco manufacturers are creating pharmaceutical devices
and products to ensure permanent nicotine consumption from smokers, would be
quitters and new nicotine users. Transnational tobacco companies have now
making an industry wide shift as pharmaceutical companies by diversifying their
product lines to include more socially acceptable alternatives nicotine
products. These major tobacco sellers or manufacturers are now aggressively
promoting smoking to individuals in low and middle-income countries with low
socioeconomic status who are the ones that suffer more from the harms of
tobacco due to their limited access to care of early discovery and treatment of
tobacco correlated ailments. The introduction of E-cigarettes or electronic
tobacco products are purported to be the tobacco companies answer to
individuals quitting smoking. However there is no enough data to see the
effects of these new innovative products.