232248 Discourse ecologies and global tobacco leaf markets

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 : 11:30 AM - 11:50 AM

Marty Otanez, PhD , Anthropology Department, University of Colorado, Denver, Denver, CO
Global tobacco leaf markets fuel six million tobacco-related deaths each year. Health advocates are beginning to recognize tobacco industry economic and farm-level behavior such as reliance on child labor and forest depletion as a focal point to engage with trade and health issues. Some anti-smoking campaigners see tobacco cessation as a starting point to raise individual and community awareness of the tobacco supply chain and human activities along the chain performed by consumers, distributors and tobacco farm workers. These distinct and overlapping circumstances comprise discourse ecologies- encounters between smokers, health practitioners, and industry representatives as well as the circumstances of tobacco control policies and leaf supply markets. Framed by critical health communication and engaged anthropological approaches, the presentation illuminates the circulation of tobacco leaf as it is produced by child laborers or unfairly paid farm workers in Malawi and other tobacco growing developing countries, processed by leaf buying firms and cigarette manufacturers, and smoked by individuals who are increasingly concerned about the humanity and ecology embedded in cigarettes. Ethnographic data on tobacco farmers and trade information on leaf markets in economically disenfranchised societies are used to discuss tobacco industry strategies to control and manipulate global flows of leaf. The presentation suggests a practical approach to develop health policies and advocacy strategies that reflect the diverse interests of farmers and explains how strategies centered on the supply and demand of tobacco leaf and living wages at the farm level can help us rethink global tobacco control and global tobacco leaf trade.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Diversity and culture
Environmental health sciences
Occupational health and safety
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Analyze the health, social, economic and ecological costs of global tobacco cigarette manufacturers and leaf buying companies

Keywords: Social Justice, Tobacco Industry

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: As an assistant professor of political ecology and a professional filmmaker with extensive fieldwork experiences on tobacco farms in Malawi, Tanzania, India, and Argentina, I am well-positioned to discuss and influence global tobacco control policies and the harmful practices of tobacco companies.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.