The tobacco use burdens the global economy with more than $1 trillion a year in health care costs and lost productivity, according to a report jointly issued by the World Health Organization and the US National Cancer Institute.
The global report released on Tuesday last in Washington provides another powerful reason why the fight against tobacco must be a priority for countries around the world, said a press release from anti-tobacco organisation ‘Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK)’ here.
The report titled the ‘Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control’ is the first comprehensive review of the economic impact of tobacco use and global tobacco control efforts in nearly 20 years.
The report found that it not only saves lives, but also reduces the enormous economic toll of tobacco use. The tobacco use does not contribute to economic development.
Measures to reduce tobacco use are highly cost-effective and do not harm economies, it said.
It underscored that tobacco use disproportionally harms the world’s most vulnerable populations. In the world, tobacco use is increasingly concentrated among the poor and other vulnerable groups and accounts for a significant share of health disparities between rich and poor, the report noted.
The disparities are exacerbated by a lack of access to health care, diversion of household spending from basic needs such as food and shelter to tobacco, and increased health care spending and reduced income stemming from tobacco-related diseases.
The report found that higher tobacco taxes and prices reduce health disparities because they lead to greater reductions in tobacco use among the poor. Contrary to the claims of the tobacco industry, it is tobacco use – and not tobacco taxes – that disproportionately harms poor people.
While tremendous progress has been made in reducing tobacco use, urgent and sustained global action is needed to prevent tobacco use from killing one billion people worldwide this century, the report suggested.