costs $1 trillion, soon to kill 8 million a year:
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[January 10, 2017]
By Tom Miles
GENEVA (Reuters) - Smoking costs the global
economy more than $1 trillion a year, and will kill one third more
people by 2030 than it does now, according to a study by the World
Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute published on
That cost far outweighs global revenues from tobacco taxes, which
the WHO estimated at about $269 billion in 2013-2014.
"The number of tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from
about 6 million deaths annually to about 8 million annually by 2030,
with more than 80 percent of these occurring in LMICs (low- and
middle-income countries)," the study said.
Around 80 percent of smokers live in such countries, and although
smoking prevalence was falling among the global population, the
total number of smokers worldwide is rising, it said.
Health experts say tobacco use is the single biggest preventable
cause of death globally.
"It is responsible for... likely over $1 trillion in health care
costs and lost productivity each year," said the study,
peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts.
The economic costs are expected to continue to rise, and although
governments have the tools to reduce tobacco use and associated
deaths, most have fallen far short of using those tools effectively,
said the 688-page report.
"Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic
impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the
time for action is now."
HOW TO QUIT
Cheap and effective policies included hiking tobacco taxes and
prices, comprehensive smoke-free policies, complete bans on tobacco
company marketing, and prominent pictorial warning labels.
Tobacco taxes could also be used to fund more expensive
interventions such as anti-tobacco mass media campaigns and support
for cessation services and treatments, it said.
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Governments spent less than $1 billion on tobacco control in
2013-2014, according to a WHO estimate.
Tobacco regulation meanwhile is reaching a crunch point because of a
trade dispute brought by Cuba, Indonesia, Honduras and Dominican
Republic against Australia's stringent "plain packaging" laws, which
enforce standardized designs on tobacco products and ban distinctive
logos and colorful branding.
The World Trade Organization is expected to rule on the complaint
this year. Australia's policy is being closely watched by other
countries that are considering similar policies, including Norway,
Slovenia, Canada, Singapore, Belgium and South Africa, the study
(Reporting by Tom Miles Editing by Jeremy Gaunt.)
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