Table 1

Contribution of tobacco control to each Millennium Development Goal (MDG)

MDGGoalContribution through tobacco control
1Eradicate extreme poverty and hungerRaising taxes on tobacco products will reduce consumption as the poor and children have been shown to be highly sensitive to price rise. Associated decrease in tobacco-related diseases and the resulting expenditures will minimise the healthcare costs, thereby reducing the economic burden on the poor.
2Achieve universal primary educationReduction in spending on tobacco products will result in increased spending on other priority issues such as child education. Also, reduced employment of children in tobacco industry (especially in the developing countries) would provide increased opportunities for children to pursue education.
3Promote gender equality and empower womenTobacco industries increasingly target women to promote their products thereby exposing them to higher health risks. Reduction in tobacco use among women will contribute to better health for them and families.
4Reduce child mortalityTobacco use by pregnant women has been shown to be associated with a number of health risks among babies such as low birth weight and sudden death. A decrease in or avoidance of tobacco use by these mothers will prevent these adverse events. Moreover, the resources spent in purchasing tobacco would be available for purchasing healthier food for the child.
5Improve maternal healthTobacco use in same amount is more harmful for females as compared to males. Women who smoke are more likely to experience events such as placental abnormalities, premature birth and higher mortality. Reduction in tobacco use would prevent these and provide resources to buy healthier nutritious food.
6Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseasesSmoking is associated with severe diseases in those affected with HIV/AIDS such as tuberculosis and pneumonia. Control of tobacco use would contribute to their prevention and control and thereby enhance the quality of life of those affected with HIV. More financial resources would be available for their healthcare.
7Ensure environmental sustainabilityDecrease in cultivation of tobacco would prevent deforestation and soil erosion, protection of natural flora and fauna, conservation of forests and prevention of exposure to toxic chemicals used for tobacco cultivation.
8Establishing a global partnership for developmentGreater emphasis on integrating tobacco control into the development agenda, by organizations like the World Bank, WHO, United Nations, Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and other regional organisations, would lead to crossfunding, larger collaborations and global partnerships for advancing tobacco control and development.