Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Tripling tobacco taxes worldwide would avoid 200 million tobacco deaths

Date:
January 1, 2014
Source:
St. Michael's Hospital
Summary:
Tripling taxes on cigarettes around the world would reduce the number of smokers by one-third and prevent 200 million premature deaths from lung cancer and other diseases this century, according to a review published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Tripling taxes on cigarettes around the world would reduce the number of smokers by one-third and prevent 200 million premature deaths from lung cancer and other diseases this century, according to a review published today in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Such a large tax increase would double the street price of cigarettes in some countries and narrow the price gap between the cheapest and most expensive cigarettes, which would encourage people to stop smoking rather than switch to a cheaper brand and help young people not to start.

This would be especially effective in low- and middle-income countries, where the cheapest cigarettes are relatively affordable and where smoking rates continue to rise, said Dr. Prabhat Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research of St. Michael's Hospital and a professor in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. But it would also be effective in rich countries, he said, noting that France halved cigarette consumption between 1990 and 2005 by raising taxes well above inflation.

"Death and taxes are inevitable, but they don't need to be in that order," Dr. Jha said. "A higher tax on tobacco is the single most effective intervention to lower smoking rates and to deter future smokers."

Countries around the world agreed at the United Nations General Assembly and the World Health Organization's 2013 Assembly to decrease the prevalence of smoking by about one-third by 2025 to reduce premature deaths from cancer and other chronic diseases by 25 per cent.

Tobacco causes about 200,000 deaths a year of people under 70 in Canada and the United States (120,000 men and 80,000 women). Doubling cigarette prices would prevent about 70,000 of those deaths and provide new revenue that governments could spend on health care. Dr. Jha said that even while higher tobacco taxes would reduce consumption, they would still generate an additional $100 billion U.S. a year for a total of $400 billion.

"Worldwide, around a half-billion children and adults under the age of 35 are already -- or soon will be -- smokers and on current patterns few will quit," said Professor Sir Richard Peto of the University of Oxford, the co-author.

"So there's an urgent need for governments to find ways to stop people starting and to help smokers give up. This study demonstrates that tobacco taxes are a hugely powerful lever and potentially a triple win -- reducing the numbers of people who smoke and who die from their addiction, reducing premature deaths from smoking and yet, at the same time, increasing government income. All governments can take action by regularly raising tobacco taxes above inflation, and using occasional steep tax hikes starting with their next budget. Young adult smokers will lose about a decade of life if they continue to smoke -- they've so much to gain by stopping."

Controlling tobacco marketing is also key to helping people quit smoking. An independent review in the United Kingdom concluded that plain packaging would reduce the appeal of cigarettes, a switch that is expected before the next election. Australia changed to plain packaging in 2011, a measure New Zealand plans to follow.

Dr. Jha and Sir Richard noted that the 21st-century hazards of smoking have been reliably documented only in the past year, when several researchers published papers showing that men and women who started smoking when they were young and continued throughout adulthood had two or three times the mortality rate of non-smokers. An average of 10 years of life is lost from smoking. Many of those killed are still in middle age, meaning on average they lose about 20 years of life expectancy.

Both Dr. Jha and Sir Richard published papers last year showing that people who quit smoking when they are young can regain almost all of the decade of life they might otherwise have lost.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by St. Michael's Hospital. The original article was written by Leslie Shepherd. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Prabhat Jha, Richard Peto. Global Effects of Smoking, of Quitting, and of Taxing Tobacco. New England Journal of Medicine, 2014; 370 (1): 60 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMra1308383

Cite This Page:

St. Michael's Hospital. "Tripling tobacco taxes worldwide would avoid 200 million tobacco deaths." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140101175800.htm>.
St. Michael's Hospital. (2014, January 1). Tripling tobacco taxes worldwide would avoid 200 million tobacco deaths. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140101175800.htm
St. Michael's Hospital. "Tripling tobacco taxes worldwide would avoid 200 million tobacco deaths." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140101175800.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Doctor At Forefront Of Fighting Ebola Outbreak Gets Ebola

Newsy (July 24, 2014) Sheik Umar Khan has treated many of the people infected in the Ebola outbreak, and now he's become one of them. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

Condemned Man's US Execution Takes Nearly Two Hours

AFP (July 24, 2014) America's death penalty debate raged Thursday after it took nearly two hours for Arizona to execute a prisoner who lost a Supreme Court battle challenging the experimental lethal drug cocktail. Duration: 00:55 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins