Sunday April 21, 2019

Smoking costs Global economy more than $1 Trillion a year, will kill one-third more people by 2030 than it does now: Study

That cost far outweighs global revenues from tobacco taxes, which the WHO estimated at about $269 billion in 2013-2014

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FILE - Cigarette packs are seen on shelves in a tobacco shop in Cagnes-sur-Mer, France, VOA

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 U.S. National Cancer Institute published on Tuesday.

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 percent of these occurring in LMICs [low- and middle-income countries],” the study said.

Around 80 percent of smokers live in such countries, and although smoking prevalence was falling among the global population, the total number of smokers worldwide is rising, it said.

Health experts say tobacco use is the single biggest preventable cause of death globally.

“It is responsible for… likely over $1 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity each year,” said the study, peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts.

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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, said the 688-page report.

“Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the time for action is now.”

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How to quit

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 also be used to fund more expensive interventions such as anti-tobacco mass media campaigns and support for cessation services and treatments, it said.

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 standardized designs on tobacco products and ban distinctive logos and colorful branding.

The World Trade Organization is expected to rule on the complaint this year. Australia’s policy is being closely watched by other countries that are considering similar policies, including Norway, Slovenia, Canada, Singapore, Belgium and South Africa, the study said. (VOA)

Next Story

Researchers Probing if Tobacco’s Native Forms Less Harmful

“By working with the people who are disproportionately harmed by smoking, we can move on to co-design and testing of indigenous-centric solutions to reduce smoking harm.”

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Hookah smoking is addictive and can lead to the use of other tobacco products such as cigarettes. Pixabay

Can indigenous ways of smoking counteract the harm being done by mass-produced cigarettes? Researching the roots of native Fijian tobacco plant ‘suki’ said to originated in Tamil Nadu and smoked in a “roll-up”, a renowned scientist from New Zealand is finding about the similar Indian cheroot.

On her visit to India, scientist Marewa Glover is accompanied by Fijian elder Setariki, who recalls learning that indentured labourers from India took tobacco plants with them to the South Pacific island country.

Looked at now, the Fijian suki appears to be processed similarly to cheroots found in Tamil Nadu’s Dindigul district.

Their visit was to see how similar the production process is for cheroot and ‘suki’ and to explore how people are using the cheroot today.

government information
FILE – Dr. Garen Wintemute, an emergency room physician at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, poses at the hospital in Sacramento, Calif., March 9, 2017. Wintemute, who has researched gun violence and firearms industry, worked with colleagues to download public records from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and other federal agencies after the inauguration of President Donald Trump. He and others feared the information might disappear from federal websites. VOA

“In India, mass-produced cigarettes made by tobacco companies have largely displaced cheroot use which is now viewed as an old and fading practice, as is the experience in Fiji,” Glover said in a statement.

“But as taxes on tobacco have been raised, native and Indian Fijians are turning back to growing, chewing and smoking suki,” the researcher, who is seeking to understand indigenous people’s use of tobacco in order to inform the reduction of disease associated with tobacco use, added.

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“The epidemic of tobacco-related diseases that cause about 7 million deaths around the world each year are mainly due to smoking the mass-produced cigarettes. Whilst smoking anything is damaging, prior to mass marketed cigarettes of tobacco companies, tobacco was harder to get and smoke and its use was often restricted using cultural rules,” she notes.

“By working with the people who are disproportionately harmed by smoking, we can move on to co-design and testing of indigenous-centric solutions to reduce smoking harm.” (IANS)