In 2019, there were approximately 20.4 million adults aged 15 and older that used tobacco in Brazil (12.6% reported using smoked tobacco products while 0.2% reported using smokeless or other forms of tobacco).
Smoking prevalence has declined sharply by 73.4% over the past three decades (see Figure 1: Adult Smoking Prevalence in Brazil).
The prevalence of smoking in Brazil varies by region, ranging from 5.1% in the city of Salvador, located in the northeastern region, to 14.0% in the city of Curitiba, located in the southeastern region.
Figure 1: Adult Smoking Prevalence in Brazil
Source: IHME 2019
HEALTH AND ECONOMIC BURDEN FROM TOBACCO USE
Tobacco was responsible for 191,127 deaths in 2019, or about 24.7% of all deaths in Brazil (2019).
It is worth noting that in 2017, 22.8% of smokers in Brazil experienced major depression while 20.2% reported experiencing minor depression.
Brazil is a signatory of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) since 2006. Since the adoption of the treaty, Brazil is one of two countries that has adopted all MPOWER measures at best practice levels, except for mass media where it was assessed to have made ‘minimal’ progress.
Therefore, it is not surprising that the country has achieved a significant reduction in smoking prevalence through a combination of tobacco control policies.
From 2006 to 2020, total cigarette sales decreased by 37% and illicit trade doubled from 26.8% in 2006 to 53.4% in 2020.
In 2012, Brazil became the first country to outlaw flavored cigarettes, additives such as menthol, and other flavors in tobacco products.
The retail sale, importation and advertising of e-cigarettes, including e-cigarette accessories and refills, have been banned since 2009.
TOBACCO PRODUCTION AND DIVERSIFICATION
In 2020, Brazil was the third largest producer of tobacco and accounted for 11.9% of all global tobacco production. Most tobacco production in Brazil is concentrated in the southern region of the country, responsible for 98% of national tobacco production.
Unlike other leading producers of tobacco, Brazil exports a majority of its tobacco – between 62% to 70% of all tobacco grown in any given year over the past two decades – and has been the leading exporter for the past two decades.
Studies estimate that tobacco generated approximately 13.5 billion BRL (USD 2.84 billion) in tax revenues in 2018. In 2016, tobacco production employed 168,000 families, with the majority of them (144,320) located in the southern region of Brazil. Many of these employees are directly contracted by tobacco companies.