Big Tobacco Stains

| January / February 2008

  • Big Tobacco

    illustration by Jason Greenberg

  • Big Tobacco

In the United States, a series of devastating lawsuits, smoking bans, public relations blunders, and aggressive campaigns to educate the citizenry have left the tobacco industry gasping for air. So, dead set on maintaining profit margins, Big Tobacco has “moved production and marketing efforts overseas,” according to In These Times (Oct. 2007), “causing experts to predict that by 2010, 87 percent of the world’s tobacco will be grown in the developing world.” In China, for example, some 350 million people smoke, making the United States’ 45 million smokers seem like chump change. What’s more, as Science & Spirit (July-Aug. 2007) notes, antismoking efforts in the world’s most populous country are relatively weak: Even the health minister has been known to enjoy a good smoke in public, which goes a long way toward explaining why a third of Chinese men under the age of 29 are likely to die from a tobacco-related illness. Industry workers, especially in the developing world, will face routine risks, such as exposure to toxic pesticides that keep the weak plant growing and “green tobacco sickness,” which is caused by handling wet leaves. Cigarette production bums off the environment, too. Massive quantities of pesticides contaminate water resources, and the curing process gobbles up some 600 million trees a year.

Pay Now Save $5!

Utne Summer 2016Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $40.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $45 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

Facebook Instagram Twitter