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.

Related Articles


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 November 24, 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 November 24, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, November 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

Ebola-Hit Sierra Leone's Late Cocoa Leaves Bitter Taste

AFP (Nov. 23, 2014) The arable district of Kenema in Sierra Leone -- at the centre of the Ebola outbreak in May -- has been under quarantine for three months as the cocoa harvest comes in. Duration: 01:32 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Don't Fall For Flu Shot Myths

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) Misconceptions abound when it comes to your annual flu shot. Medical experts say most people older than 6 months should get the shot. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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