Where are all those “cancer sticks” produced? Pinpointing the factories

A research project by Stanford’s Global
Tobacco Prevention Research Initiative

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The tobacco industry produces somewhere in the range of six trillion cigarettes worldwide every year.

Yes . . . six trillion.

In some locales, you rarely see them. Elsewhere, the sight and scent of cigarettes are pervasive, even ubiquitous. Sold at convenience stores, newsstands, truck stops, bars, pharmacies, open-air markets, cigarettes are viewed by different people in different ways. Some folks see them as a valuable source of income or pleasure, whereas many others now label them a scourge.  How much of a scourge? More than you might know. Cigarettes are  the single largest cause of preventable death worldwide today. They will kill a billion people during the 21st century if current trends continue (source: WHO).

Six trillion cigarettes every year — each ready to release smoke filled with highly addictive nicotine and powerful carcinogens.  Where are they manufactured?  Where are they rolled, wrapped, and boxed for shipment?

The Cigarette Citadels project was created to explore these and other questions about the tobacco industry.  Its initial goal is to pinpoint all the factories in the world producing cigarettes and provide basic facts about them.  Take a look at the quickly developing project map.

Click on the Map!

This map allows you to zoom in via satellite imagery on tobacco companies’ manufacturing plants.  These factories, many of them each producing tens of billions of cigarettes a year, are virtually unknown to the larger world.

“Before launch of the Cigarette Citadels project in September 2010, no means existed for anyone, whether curious citizen or devoted researcher, to know about all these factories, peer into them, and begin questioning their specific effects,” notes project director Prof. Matthew Kohrman (Anthropology/FSI).

What are policy implications of this study?  Until now, much global health research and intervention in the area of tobacco has focused on the consumer — addressing how one or another variable prompts people to take up or quit smoking, whether the cue for the consumer is biological, psychological, spatial, financial or symbolic.  The Cigarette Citadels project pushes attention in a different direction, away from the consumer, toward the surfeit of cigarette factories in the world and the profusion of harmful products they roll out.  This is a direction for study and health promotion that tobacco companies have been eager to avoid.

Our Current Progress
482 Cigarette factories pinpointed
159 Factories nearly pinpointed -- Need your help!

Like to discover stuff?  Curious where cigarettes come from?  We welcome your input.  All information here is gathered from public sources.  If you come across any helpful details, spot areas for improvement on the map, know of other cigarette factories, send us an email.

>> Click here to see the Cigarette Citadels map <<

>> Click here to send us an email <<

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.


Watch a Stanford News report regarding the Cigarette Citadels Project

(click on the image below)

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World Health Organization source: MPower Report (2009).

Note: This project receives NO funding from the tobacco industry or any other commercial entity.  Work by Stanford undergraduates on this project has been supported  by Stanford University Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education Departmental Grants for Undergraduate Research.  This project has also received seed funding from the International Tobacco Control Research program of the American Cancer Society.

Disclaimer: This is an academic research project. It strives to achieve the highest level of accuracy possible based on credible sources, yet it cannot guarantee that all information offered here is entirely error free.

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