Tobacco companies' use of developing countries' economic reliance on tobacco to lobby against global tobacco control: the case of Malawi

Am J Public Health. 2009 Oct;99(10):1759-71. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.146217. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Transnational tobacco manufacturing and tobacco leaf companies engage in numerous efforts to oppose global tobacco control. One of their strategies is to stress the economic importance of tobacco to the developing countries that grow it. We analyze tobacco industry documents and ethnographic data to show how tobacco companies used this argument in the case of Malawi, producing and disseminating reports promoting claims of losses of jobs and foreign earnings that would result from the impending passage of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC). In addition, they influenced the government of Malawi to introduce resolutions or make amendments to tobacco-related resolutions in meetings of United Nations organizations, succeeding in temporarily displacing health as the focus in tobacco control policymaking. However, these efforts did not substantially weaken the FCTC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Developing Countries / economics*
  • Developing Countries / statistics & numerical data
  • Global Health
  • Health Policy / economics
  • Health Policy / legislation & jurisprudence
  • Humans
  • Internationality*
  • Malawi
  • Politics*
  • Public Policy*
  • Smoking / economics*
  • Smoking Prevention
  • Tobacco
  • Tobacco Industry / economics*
  • Tobacco Industry / statistics & numerical data