According to a study, higher tobacco taxes and bans on smoking in public places can help save millions of lives.
Researchers found that increasing taxes on tobacco would prevent 3.5 million smoking related deaths while smoking bans in restaurants, offices and other public places would prevent 2.5 million.
“If anything it is an under-estimate,” Dr. Douglas Bettcher said. “It is a win-win situation for health and finance ministries to generate revenues that have a major impact on improving health and productivity.”
The study published by the World Health Organization said that these smoking death prevention measures have already been taken by Romania, Turkey and 39 other countries between 2007 and 2010.
Turkey’s steps to prevent smoking related deaths have resulted in a decline in smoking rates to 41.5 percent among men in 2012 from 47.9 percent in 2008.
“If the progress attained by these … countries were extended globally, tens of millions of smoking-related deaths could be averted,” Professor David Levy, the study’s lead author, said.
The measures to reduce smoking related deaths will include raising the taxes on tobacco products to 75 percent of the retail price, warning labels on cigarette packages and smoke free air policies.
“We know that in many poor countries, the poor spend a lot of money on tobacco. They would be able to use it for nutrition and education which is a huge opportunity cost,” Dr. Edouard Tursan d’Espaignet said.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tobacco use causes more than 5 million deaths worldwide. For every person who dies from a smoking related disease, 20 more people suffer with at least one serious disease from smoking.
Smoking can lead to heart disease, cancer, stroke, emphysema and chronic airway obstruction.
Do you think the tobacco taxes and bans will save lives? Or do you believe most people will just continue to smoke?
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