Today, the World Health Organization (WHO) is promoting 'No Tobacco Day'. This year, the focus is on how tobacco not only harms our health, but also the ways in which the industry itself damages the development of nations around the world. According to WHO, in some low-income countries more than 10 percent of household income is spent on tobacco products, leaving less money for food, education and healthcare. Additionally, healthcare costs and lost productivity due to illness/death amount to global annual costs of $1.4 trillion.
While lobbying on tobacco in the U.S. has fallen over the last few years, the amounts being spent to gain political influence by tobacco firms, and those with an interest in the industry, is still high - in the last full year, the Center for Responsive Politics reported a total of $20 million. The main client in 2016 was Altria Group, the parent company of Philip Morris USA. Combined with Philip Morris International, the two spent a total of $15 million.
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