Salud Pública de México
versión impresa ISSN 0036-3634
ENRIQUE ARMENDARES, Pedro y REYNALES SHIGEMATSU, Luz Myriam. Expansion of the tobacco industry and smuggling: challenges for public health in developing countries. Salud pública Méx [online]. 2006, vol.48, suppl.1, pp. s183-s189. ISSN 0036-3634.
The international tobacco industry, in its constant quest for new markets, has expanded aggressively to middle- and low-income nations. At the same time there has been a marked increase in tobacco smuggling, especially of cigarettes. Smuggling produces serious fiscal losses to governments the world over, erodes tobacco control policies and is an incentive to international organized crime. In addition, smuggling results in increased demand for and consumption of tobacco, which in turn benefits the tobacco companies. Moreover, there is evidence indicating that the international tobacco industry has instigated cigarette smuggling and has participated directly in these activities, while at the same time carrying out costly lobbying campaigns to pressure governments againt tax increases and to promote their own interests. Academic studies and empirical evidence show that tobacco control can be promoted through high tax rates without causing significant increases in smuggling. To achieve this tobacco smuggling must be attacked through the use of strategies including multilateral controls and actions such as those included in the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which establishes the basis for combating smuggling through an international, global approach. It is also necessary to increase the penalties for smuggling and to make the tobacco industry, including producers and distributors, responsible for the final destination of their exports.
Palabras llave : tobacco control; tobacco smuggling; tobacco industry.