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Increased cigarette taxes leads to increased smuggling and illegal trade. Pixabay

The World Health Organization says that raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products is the smartest and best way to save lives and save billions of dollars in health expenditures.

An estimated eight million people die prematurely every year from tobacco-related illnesses, such as emphysema and lung cancer. Furthermore, the World Health Organization reports the cost of smoking to the global economy comes to more than $1.4 trillion in health expenditures and lost productivity.


The WHO has issued a new manual on tobacco taxes to inform policymakers and others on how to create and implement the strongest tobacco taxation policies for their specific countries.

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Jeremias N. Paul Jr. is head of Fiscal Policies and Health Promotion for the WHO. He says scare tactics employed by the tobacco industry are a key hindrance to raising taxes. He urges governments not to be put off by ploys aimed at undermining tobacco reforms, such as:

“If you increase tobacco taxation, you increase smuggling and illicit trade,” Paul said. “You are sued in the court. Raising tobacco taxes is anti-poor. If you increase tobacco taxes, revenues will go down and employment impact will be negative.”


Per year, an estimated eight million people die prematurely as a result of tobacco-related diseases. Pixabay

Paul says the new WHO manual documents countries that addressed these scare tactics and succeeded in raising resources through good tax administration. For example, he says the Philippines has increased its revenue and tripled its health budget by taxing tobacco.

“If you raise the tobacco taxation, that does more to prevent premature death from non-communicable diseases than any other single health intervention…If you just increase taxes by one dollar, you can raise about $200 billion of additional revenues,” Paul said.

ALSO READ: Stress, Boredom Amid COVID-19 Pandemic Increased Cigarette Smoking Habits in Public

According to the WHO, in 2018 only 38 countries, covering 14% of the global population, had sufficiently high tobacco taxes, which the agency defines as 75% of the retail price of a pack of cigarettes.

When it comes to taxes, Paul says the rule of thumb is to make sure they are high enough to make tobacco products less affordable and deter consumers from using them. (VOA/KB)


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Surgeons attached a pig kidney to a pair of large blood vessels outside the body of a deceased recipient so they could observe it for two days, and the kidney did what it was supposed to do.

Scientists temporarily attached a pig's kidney to a human body and watched it begin to work, a small step in the decades-long quest to one day use animal organs for lifesaving transplants.

Pigs have been the most recent research focus to address the organ shortage, but among the hurdles: A sugar in pig cells, foreign to the human body, causes immediate organ rejection. The kidney for this experiment came from a gene-edited animal, engineered to eliminate that sugar and avoid an immune system attack.

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Photo by Wikimedia Commons

Killer Smog in Delhi.

Developed by the Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM), Pune, a Decision Support System (DSS) that extends the ability of the existing air quality early warning system (AQEWS) to have decision-making capability for air quality management in Delhi-NCR was launched on Tuesday.

The website for the DSS (https://ews.tropmet.res.in/dss/) is designed to help the Commission for Air Quality Management for NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) by delivering quantitative information about the contribution of emissions from Delhi and its 19 surrounding districts; the contribution of emissions from eight different sectors in Delhi; and the contribution from biomass-burning activities in the neighbouring states.

These information would assist in managing the air quality in a timely manner, a release from the Ministry of Earth Sciences said.

The need was stated by the CAQM, which was formed by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, during a meeting held in January 2021.

Recently, the Commission reviewed the progress made by IITM and had in principle approved the current version of DSS for air quality management in the Delhi-NCR. The IITM has also developed a new website for DSS with the entire system made operational, the release said.

Union Minister of State for Earth Sciences, Jitendra Singh, while launching the website for AQEWS on the occasion of 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' week organised by the Ministry of Earth Sciences, said, "DSS is a significant contribution to 'Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav' on behalf of MoES and IITM and suggestions are invited on this issue."

The website also has a feature whereby the users can create their own emission reduction scenarios (from 20 different districts, including Delhi) so as to examine the possible projected improvement in air quality in Delhi for the next five days.

"This information would explicitly highlight the most important emission sources responsible for the degradation of air quality in Delhi and suggest possible solutions to ameliorate the same. With a plethora of quantitative data, the AQEWS integrated with DSS could become a user-friendly tool for air-quality management in and around Delhi," the release said. (IANS/JB)

Keywords: Delhi, India, Pollution, IITM, Ministry of Earth Sciences


Photo by GOI.

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020

On the first day of the two-day meeting of BJP and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders on Tuesday, discussions were held on important issues related to education and the National Education Policy-2020. Apart from senior RSS leader Suresh Soni, representatives of various organisations associated with the Sangh Parivar -- working in the field of education -- were present in the meeting in New Delhi.

According to sources, Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, who attended the meeting on behalf of the government, shared information related to the National Education Policy-2020 and the government's policy on important issues related to the education sector. Pradhan also shared details of the efforts being made by the government in the field of education.

Discussions were also held regarding the impact of the situation arising out of Corona and how much it has affected the education sector. In the meeting, the RSS leaders asked several questions and provided suggestions to the Union Minister regarding the education policy of the government.

According to the sources, RSS wants the policy to be implemented expeditiously. All aspects related to the policy were discussed in Tuesday's meeting. On the second and the last day of the meeting on Wednesday, special issues related to education will be discussed in which representatives of various organisations of the Sangh, Union Ministers and several BJP leaders will be take part.

Meanwhile, in order to convey its point of view to the government on various issues, the Sangh keeps on calling such coordination meetings related to specific issues, in which RSS representatives -- working in that particular area -- provide feedback to the government. (IANS/JB)


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