A new report by the World Health Organization (WHO) points out the dangers and threats tobacco still imposes around the world. The report shows that tobacco use kills more than 7 million people every year and costs households and governments over US$ 1.4 trillion through healthcare expenditure and lost productivity.
WHO advocates for action by individuals and governments. Actions to fight against and restrict tobacco use can help countries prevent millions of people falling ill and dying from tobacco-related disease, combat poverty and reduce large-scale environmental degradation. Among the ways the public can act to reduce the damages caused by tobacco use include banning marketing and advertising of tobacco, promoting plain packaging of tobacco products, raising excise taxes, and making indoor public places and workplaces smoke-free.
"Tobacco threatens us all," says WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan. "Tobacco exacerbates poverty, reduces economic productivity, contributes to poor household food choices, and pollutes indoor air."
Dr Chan adds: "But by taking robust tobacco control measures, governments can safeguard their countries' futures by protecting tobacco users and non-users from these deadly products, generating revenues to fund health and other social services, and saving their environments from the ravages tobacco causes."
Governments collect nearly US$ 270 billion in tobacco excise tax revenues each year, according to the report. Yet, this could increase by over 50%, generating an additional US$ 141 billion, simply from raising taxes on cigarettes by just US$ 0.80 per pack (equivalent to one international dollar) in all countries. Increased tobacco taxation revenues will strengthen domestic resource mobilization, creating the fiscal space needed for countries to meet development priorities under the 2030 Agenda.