Abstract

Tobacco consumption is increasing in developing countries, which will bear the brunt of the tobacco epidemic in the 21st century. If current smoking patterns continue, 7 of the world's 10 million annual deaths from tobacco in 2025 will occur in developing countries.

Compared with developed countries, more man and fewer women currently smoke in developing countries, but smoking among girls and women is increasing.

While indigenous tobacco production and consumption remain a major problem, of particular concern is the penetration by the transnational tobacco companies, bringing with them denial of the health evidence, sophistacated advertising and promotion, threats of trade sanctions based on tobacco trade, and opposition to tobacco control measures, in particular promotional bans and tobacco tax policy.

Developing countries must urgently devise and implement national tobacco control policies, but many governments have little experience in the new noncommunicable disease epidemic or in countering the transnational tobacco companies.