WHO urges higher tobacco taxes to save lives
Geneva, May 27, 2014
Countries must raise taxes on tobacco to encourage users to stop and prevent other people from becoming addicted to tobacco, the World Health Organisation has urged.
Based on 2012 data, WHO estimates that increasing tobacco taxes by 50 per cent, all countries would reduce the number of smokers by 49 million within the next three years and ultimately save 11 million lives.
Today, every 6 seconds someone dies from tobacco use. Tobacco kills up to half of its users. It also incurs considerable costs for families, businesses, and governments, said a WHO statement on the eve o the World No Tobacco Day (May 31).
Treating tobacco-related diseases like cancer and heart disease is expensive. And as tobacco-related disease and death often strikes people in the prime of their working lives, productivity and incomes fall, it said.
“Raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to reduce use and save lives,” says WHO director-general Dr Margaret Chan. “Determined action on tobacco tax policy hits the industry where it hurts.”
High prices are particularly effective in discouraging young people (who often have more limited incomes than older adults) from taking up smoking. They also encourage existing young smokers to either reduce their use of tobacco or quit altogether.
WHO calculates that if all countries increased tobacco taxes by 50pc per pack, governments would earn an extra $101 billion in global revenue. -TradeArabia News Service