The rapid growth of middle classes in China, India and other countries over the past few years has opened up new markets for Southeastern tobacco. 

Health problems associated with tobacco use are well circulated worldwide and making tobacco safer is an ongoing challenge for the tobacco industry.

China is the world leader in tobacco production and a good example of how the tobacco market is likely to go in the near future. As is the case for all developed countries, the growth in demand in China is expected to come from safer tobacco, which is not grown extensively in China or other Asian countries.

China’s State Tobacco Monopoly Association (STMA) has restructured the tobacco market and emphasizes the importance to the country’s tax structure of the 30 leading brands of cigarettes sold in China. This restructuring will likely continue over the next few years and it will make the China tobacco market less fragmented while also giving leading tobacco manufacturers a competitive advantage, if they can produce what is perceived to be tobacco products with fewer health risks to humans.

Despite a number of preventative measures established by the STMA in China, such as a smoking ban in public places and a total ban on tobacco advertising, the tobacco industry is likely to continue its steady value growth over the next decade or so.

Providing the type of tobacco desired by more world markets, particularly ‘safer’ or ‘cleaner’ tobacco products, will play a role in the revitalization of the U.S. tobacco industry.

A particular challenge for U.S. tobacco growers is the management of suckering, which produces vegetative offshoots that compete with the primary leaf for quality tobacco.

Linwood Vick is a second generation tobacco grower in Wilson, N.C., and a good one, having learned how to do things the right way from his father and Vick Family Farms patriarch Jerome Vick. When the Vick’s talk tobacco, growers tend to listen.

When they joined Sante Fe Tobacco Company’s Purity Residue Clean (PRC) program in the early 1990s others followed.