Smoking costs $1 trillion, soon to kill 8 million a year: WHO
- 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 US National Cancer Institute.
- 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% of these occurring in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries).
- Tobacco use is single biggest preventable cause of death globally.
- 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.
- 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 be used to fund expensive interventions such as anti-tobacco mass media campaigns, support for cessation services & treatments.
- 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 standardised designs on tobacco products and ban distinctive logos and colourful branding.