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The Tobacco Industry - Essay Example

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The overwhelming increase in the use of tobacco products is an indication of the fact that this industry is not getting affected by recent downsizing and global economic crisis. Millions of people are working in this industry and trying to make ends meet by putting in a lot of effort in farms…
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The Tobacco Industry Essay
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The Tobacco Industry

Download file to see previous pages... For instance, child labor is only small problem associated with it.
When you will delve more into the details pertaining to tobacco industry, you will find that the majority of tobacco workers are migrant workers. Although often gone unnoticed by consumers, those engaged in the growth and preparation of tobacco and tobacco-related products are often exposed to many health hazards. Because tobacco is a global industry, tobacco workers all over the world are exposed to such risks.
Tobacco products: cigarettes, cigars, snuff, and chewing tobacco, are well known to pose a serious environmental health threat both to consumers themselves and, in the case of secondhand smoke, to the people around them. Today, vigorous tobacco control activity around the world focuses on curbing tobacco use and, thus, its health effects on consumers. But the tobacco workers who labor to bring the plant to market face another range of environmental health risks. Also, most of the labor laws don't really affect these people because most of them live in developing countries where they work on their own family farms.
However, it is interesting to note that in the United States, the federal government historically has encouraged tobacco agriculture. The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) tobacco price support program sets an annual national quota restricting the amount of tobacco that can be grown to that estimated to meet annual domestic and export demand. For those farmers who hold quota allotments, this policy and an accompanying federal loan program keep market prices artificially high. Quotas can be leased and traded, and in recent years this has resulted in the concentration of quota allotments in fewer hands, creating some large-scale nonfamily farming operations.
Here, it is crucial to mention that the federal government is now phasing out support for tobacco farming. As U.S. tobacco consumption declines, the tobacco companies, the largest and most influential of which are multinational corporations, are moving both their production and their marketing efforts overseas (Brown, 2003).
The top three companies, Altria, British American Tobacco (BAT), and Japan Tobacco, have built new manufacturing facilities and encouraged the rapid expansion of tobacco agriculture in many countries, notably Brazil, Mexico, India, China, and Malaysia. Two-thirds of the world's tobacco is grown in just four countries: China, India, Brazil, and the United States. According to Golden Leaf, Barren harvest, a 2001 report by the Washington, D.C., tobacco production in developing countries grew by 128% between 1975 and 1998 (Brown, 2003).
Traditionally, independent growers have sold their tobacco at annual auctions where tobacco companies compete to buy from many different growers. Under the auction system, tobacco companies do not always buy directly from farmers, but work through intermediary leaf brokers. Recently tobacco companies have begun to shift to a more vertically integrated system (Brown, 2003).
Atria subsidiary Philip Morris USA is encouraging farmers to sign contracts called "partnering agreement." The contracts eliminate the leaf brokers and allow the growers to bring their crop to the company at their convenience rather than at a preset time as under the auction system. The contract system is predicted by many to further reduce the economic stature and autonomy of growers. As growers become more dependent on single tobacco companie ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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