Tobacco Production King

cigarette production Tobacco continues to pose one of the world’s largest public health challenges, killing 5.4 million people each year. With governments and international health organizations stepping up their efforts to curb tobacco use, we wonder: Which country produces more tobacco than any other?


  • United States
  • Brazil
  • India
  • China

United States is not correct.

The United States has slipped to fourth place among the world’s top tobacco producers. Its output totaled 363,000 metric tons in 2008 — or 6% of global production, according to the latest available data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Tobacco has been a major cash crop for the U.S. economy for hundreds of years. The United States was the world’s largest tobacco producer as late as 1975, but U.S. production has since declined, while production in emerging market economies has soared.

Brazil is not correct.

Brazil was the second-largest tobacco producer in 2008. With an output of 851,000 metric tons, Brazil accounts for 15% of global production. This further buttresses Brazil’s role as a top producer of agricultural commodities. Already, it is the world’s leading producer of sugar, oranges and coffee and the third-largest exporter of food, after the EU-27 and United States.

The combined total production of the fifth-to-tenth-placed tobacco-producing nations (Argentina, Indonesia, Malawi, Italy, Pakistan and Turkey) was 811,000 metric tons — a little less than Brazil produces by itself.

India is not correct.

India, the world’s second-most-populous nation, is the third-largest tobacco producer. India’s production has been steadily increasing, from 307,000 metric tons in 1961 to 439,000 metric tons in 1980 to 520,000 metric tons in 2008. It currently accounts for 8% of the global total.

The top three tobacco-producer slots are filled by three BRICs — Brazil, China and India — which collectively produce 62% of the world’s tobacco.

China is correct.

Unmanufactured tobacco is another product where China is a global leader, churning out 2.837 million metric tons in 2008 — or 39% of global production. China overtook the United States as the top tobacco producer in 1976.

About 350 million Chinese people, or 27% of the population, smoke cigarettes, while up to a million Chinese die each year from tobacco-related illnesses. China has more smokers than any other country — consuming a third of tobacco products sold worldwide, while accounting for a fifth of the world’s population.


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