Big Tobacco's New Strategy

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The United States has not been the most hospitable market for cigarette manufacturers in recent years. Anti-smoking laws, multi-billion dollar lawsuits, public health campaigns, and Americans' general disdain for the tobacco industry have crippled domestic sales over the past decade or so. So tobacco companies are looking overseas to developing nations to pick up the sales slack.

Eighty percent of the world smokers live in the 3rd world, and the United States bears much of the responsibility as the world's leading cigarette exporter. Efforts by the World Health Organization to regulate the international tobacco trade have been resisted by the U.S., no doubt because of the American financial interest in its cigarette exports.

An increasing amount of the international cigarette trade involves smuggling, according to the WHO, and a new report alleges that tobacco companies may be smuggling billions of dollars of cigarettes into Iraq, using intermediaries to circumvent sanctions against that nation.

This hour, a look at the international trade in tobacco — is America getting the world hooked on cigarettes for its own economic benefit?


Mark Schapiro, reporter who covers foreign affairs and is an associate at The Center for Investigative Reporting, wrote story on cigarette smuggling in recent issue of "The Nation."

Kenneth Warner, Professor of Public health and director of the Tobacco Research Network at The University of Michigan

This program aired on May 8, 2002.


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