Smoking Will Soon Kill 8M a Year

Study says governments can do more to curb tobacco use
By Linda Hervieux,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 10, 2017 6:04 PM CST
Smoking Will Soon Kill 8M a Year
Smoking costs the global economy $1 trillion per year.   (Getty Images/Pixel_away)

Smoking costs the global economy an eye-popping $1 trillion a year, and despite anti-tobacco efforts, deaths are rising, Reuters reports. Tobacco-related illnesses will claim 8 million lives per year by 2030, up from the current 6 million, warns a new study by the World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute. There are more people lighting up in middle- to low-income countries, which is where 80% of projected smoking deaths will occur in the coming years. Lost productivity and health care costs top $1 trillion per year (that's 12 zeros), a figure that dwarfs that $1 billion governments spent on anti-tobacco measures in the 2013-14 year. Governments could do more to curb smoking and reduce their health-care costs, the authors say. Smoking is the single largest preventable cause of death, notes Reuters.

Global efforts to curb tobacco use have fallen short, the study says. "Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence," the authors write. "The science is clear; the time for action is now." They suggest boosting tobacco taxes and the price per pack along with better anti-smoking policies, warning labels and a total ban on marketing tobacco. Australia's strict plain-packaging laws banning cigarette company logos have been praised by health experts as a model for other nations, though the policy has sparked legal challenges. Australia won a legal fight against Philip Morris in 2015 to keep cigarette packs there as drab as possible, per the Guardian. (Smoke just a little bit? It'll still kill you.)

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