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Tobacco and the Economy: Farms, Jobs, and Communities

by Fred Gale, Linda Foreman, and Thomas Capehart

Agricultural Economic Report No. (AER-789) 44 pp, November 2000

Public health policies intended to reduce the incidence of smoking-related disease adversely affect thousands of tobacco farmers, manufacturers, and other businesses that produce, distribute, and sell tobacco products. This report assesses the likely impacts of declining tobacco demand, and identifies the types of workers, farms, businesses, and communities that are most vulnerable to loss of tobacco income and jobs. The dollar impact on the farm sector of a reduction in cigarette demand will be smaller than that experienced by manufacturing, wholesale, retail, and transportation businesses, but tobacco farms and their communities may have the most difficulty adjusting. Many tobacco farmers lack good alternatives to tobacco, and they have tobacco-specific equipment, buildings, and experience. Most communities will make the transition to a smaller tobacco industry with little difficulty, because tobacco accounts for a small share of the local economy. However, a number of counties depend on tobacco for a significant share of local income.

Keywords: tobacco, tobacco income, tobacco industry, tobacco farmers

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Last updated: Wednesday, February 13, 2013

For more information contact: Fred Gale, Linda Foreman, and Thomas Capehart