Tobacco tax hikes can save 11 million lives: WHO

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Young boy smoking (2002). WHO

The World Health Organization (WHO) has called on countries to raise taxes on tobacco to encourage users to stop and prevent other people from being addicted to tobacco.

The message was delivered ahead of World No Tobacco Day observed annually on 31 May.

WHO warns that every six seconds, someone dies from tobacco use and the habit kills up to half of its users.

Tax hikes are needed, argues Dr Ayda Yurekli, the Coordinator of the Tobacco Control Economics Unit, to achieve a significant public health impact.

"According to WHO a global 50 per cent increase in taxes on cigarettes would lead to 49 million fewer smokers and save 11 million lives. One of the highest priorities in tobacco control is to prevent young people from starting to use tobacco. And such tax increases can prevent 11 million young people from becoming smokers."  (28″)

This is especially important for developing countries, with large and growing populations, says Ms Yurekli.

Tobacco incurs considerable costs for families, businesses, and governments, WHO notes.

And as tobacco-related disease and death often strikes people in the prime of their working lives, productivity and incomes fall, the agency adds.

Jocelyne Sambira, United Nations.

Duration:  1’29″



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