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Tobacco (Aid)

Volume 173: debated on Thursday 24 May 1990

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what is the Government's policy on aid to the tobacco sector in developing countries.

Tobacco consumption is a significant health risk in developing countries. Nevertheless tobacco is a legal substance, a major traded commodity and a principal source of export earnings and budgetary revenue for a number of LDCs. The aid programme is used to assist agricultural development in a number of ways, including tobacco where it is an important cash crop for which no suitable substitutes are readily available. Aid funds are not used to finance imports into developing countries of tobacco and cigarettes. The Government believe that, as in United Kingdom domestic policy, the most sensible approach to reducing the damage to health from tobacco is demand reduction. Through our regular contribution to WHO we support that organisation's programme to reduce tobacco consumption in developing countries. We shall consider further support for developing countries in this field, both bilateral and multilateral.