News / Health

Study: Tobacco Tax Hike Could Save 200 Million Lives

Cigarettes displayed in a store in New York in this March 30, 2010 file photo.
Cigarettes displayed in a store in New York in this March 30, 2010 file photo.

Related Articles

Chinese State Council Urges Party Leaders to Change Smoking Habits

China is the world's largest tobacco consumer; Smoking is deeply entrenched in Chinese social life

US Panel: Some Current, Former Smokers Should Get Annual Lung Scans

Under the Affordable Care Act, insurers will be required to cover the screenings
VOA News
Tripling tobacco taxes could save up to 200 million lives, according to new research published January 1 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"The international tobacco industry makes about $50 billion in profits each year – that’s a profit of approximately $10,000 per death from smoking," said Richard Peto an epidemiologist at Cancer Research UK and co-author of the study.

Raising the tax, the study said, would lower the price gap between the most and least expensive brands, which would lead to more people quitting smoking rather than just moving to a cheaper brand. Higher prices could also discourage young people from taking up smoking.

The effects of higher taxes would be felt especially in low-to-middle-income countries where the cheapest cigarettes are relatively affordable. It would also be effective in richer countries. For example, France halved cigarette consumption from 1990 to 2005 by raising taxes well above inflation, according to the study.

The research points to numerous studies which found that a 50 percent higher inflation-adjusted price for cigarettes reduces consumption by about 20 percent, with stronger reductions among the young and among the poor.

“Globally, about half of all young men and one in ten of all young women become smokers, and, particularly in developing countries, relatively few quit,” said Peto. “If they keep smoking, about half will be killed by it, but if they stop before 40, they’ll reduce their risk of dying from tobacco by 90 percent.”

Smoking is the largest cause of premature death from chronic disease, according to the study, and in 2013 the World Health Assembly called governments to reduce smoking by a third by 2025.

The study said that tripling tobacco taxes would decrease worldwide consumption by about a third, but despite this it would also increase government revenues from tobacco by a third, from $300 billion a year now to $400 billion a year – income which could be spent on better health care.

About 1.3 billion people smoke, most in low and middle-income countries, according to the study.

Furthermore, the study said two-thirds of all smokers are, in descending number of smokers, in China, India, the EU, Indonesia, the United States, Russia, Japan, Brazil, Bangladesh and Pakistan. China consumes over two trillion cigarettes a year, out of a world total of six trillion, the research states.

You May Like

Multimedia Obama, Modi Break Nuclear Deal Deadlock

Impasse over liability issues had been stalling bilateral civilian nuclear cooperation; deal reached at start of US president's three-day visit to India More

WHO's Late Efforts in Tackling Ebola Highlight Need for Reform

Health experts debate measures to reform agency’s response to global public health emergencies in special one-day session on deadly outbreak More

One Tumultuous Year in Power for CAR's President

As sectarian violence raged across Central African Republic, interim President Catherine Samba-Panza has Herculean task: to end civil war and put country back on right track More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments page of 3
    Next 
by: Trujillo from: AZ
January 07, 2014 4:41 PM
These researchers are a joke just the Feds are. If they were for real the FEDS would make it ILLEGAL to use all those chemicals added to make people more addicted, crave cigarettes. 20 years later and still NOT DONE to stop doping the tobacco.
Second is hit the ones adding the chemicals for the injuries CAUSED by their actions.
But that would happen because in the same group as too big to fail, too big to jail.


by: Art Vandelay from: US
January 03, 2014 3:31 AM
Of course many in "developing countries" will die from bullets or disease before they turn 40 too (China still has people who live in caves, the Taliban have dominated by profits from Heroin) but by all means, let's take away their cigarettes.... Hello trees, this is the forest, yeah we're burning...


by: amishjihad from: Switzerland
January 03, 2014 3:22 AM
To quote from the article above. “Globally, about half of all young men and one in ten of all young women become smokers, and, particularly in developing countries, relatively few quit,” said Peto. “If they keep smoking, about half will be killed by it, but if they stop before 40, they’ll reduce their risk of dying from tobacco by 90 percent.”
And to quote to again. "About 1.3 billion people smoke, most in low and middle-income countries, according to the study"..
Am I the only one that sees the whole picture? With the concern for overpopulation on this planet and the worlds population having the potential to live longer, this is the perfect solution. People taking their lives voluntarily at such a high rate is exactly what this planet needs to survive. AND. We all know what the majority of the funds that will be generated from all this tax will be used for? That's right more and bigger wars to kill more people. Quite the perfect combination to slow down population growth. Look at me the eternal optimist. Problem solved. God I love humanity and its infinite wisdom.


by: Mont
January 03, 2014 12:05 AM
Could, but won't. When I stopped smoking they were under $1/pack, now they are what, $5? How many people have stopped smoking because they are 5x more expensive? How many new people started smoking even during the price increases? It will just be wasted at your local health department on buying car seats for people who can't keep their legs closed.


by: wag from: US
January 02, 2014 10:25 PM
The statement that "the international tobacco industry makes...a profit of approximately $10,000 per death from smoking," is about as meaningless a statistic as one could formulate, in that the profit per death is inversely proportional to the number of people who die from smoking. If the number of deaths were cut in half, the profit per death would then be $20,000. So what's your point, Dr. Peto?


by: Anonymous
January 02, 2014 5:46 PM
Perhap the Companies should be forced to pay the medical expenses incurred by smoke related illnesses instead of charging more tax that the government would squander anyway would be a better start.


by: Adolf Siebenhaar from: United States
January 02, 2014 5:44 PM
The only thing guaranteed by an increase in taxes on tobacco is that the bureaucrats will have more money to waste on another string of needless legislation and government offices. For those of you who are militantly anti-smoking or smoker reformers, I pay additional taxes, health insurance premiums, and life insurance premiums for the privilege of smoking. I will continue to smoke tobacco, do as I please with my time and space as I see fit, and scoff at any attempt to force my compliance with ridiculous attempts to change me, whether by coercion, ridicule, or violence until I am no longer able to afford my behavior or until the bureaucrats succeed in completely stripping away all of my rights and freedoms.

In Response

by: Rick FromTexas
January 03, 2014 12:53 AM
I smoke too but I'd quit in a heartbeat if they invented a pill that prevented withdrawal.


by: Zensible from: Seattle WA
January 02, 2014 4:30 PM
Lets triple the price of snow skis to, so we can cut down on skiing accidents. Triple the price of cars to cut down on automobile accidents. Maybe if we stopped listening to studies that are three times dumber than the average....


by: Robert Heron from: California
January 02, 2014 3:55 PM
Once the world has stopped smoking, how will the lost tax revenue be recovered?


by: Art Stone from: USA
January 02, 2014 3:53 PM
How many additional deaths will occur from the newly obese when they stop smoking? Or suffer from food insecurity because they choose to continue smoking?

In Response

by: Treacy from: China
January 02, 2014 11:00 PM
your thinking is so funny,but reasonable

Comments page of 3
    Next 

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youthi
X
Julie Taboh
January 23, 2015 11:08 PM
Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Worldwide Photo Workshops Empower Youth

Last September, 20 young adults from South Sudan took part in a National Geographic Photo Camp. They are among hundreds of students from around the world who have learned how to use a camera to tell the stories of the people in their communities through the powerful medium of photography. Three camp participants talked about their experiences recently on a visit to Washington. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video US, Japan Offer Lessons as Eurozone Launches Huge Stimulus

The Euro currency has fallen sharply after the European Central Bank announced a bigger-than-expected $67 billion-a-month quantitative easing program Thursday - commonly seen as a form of printing new money. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London on whether the move might rescue the eurozone economy -- and what lessons have been learned from similar programs around the world.
Video

Video Nigerian Elections Pose Concern of Potential Conflict in 'Middle Belt'

Nigeria’s north-central state of Kaduna has long been the site of fighting between Muslims and Christians as well as between people of different ethnic groups. As the February elections approach, community and religious leaders are making plans they hope will keep the streets calm after results are announced. Chris Stein reports from the state capital, Kaduna.
Video

Video As Viewership Drops, Obama Puts His Message on YouTube

Ratings reports show President Obama’s State of the Union address this week drew the lowest number of viewers for this annual speech in 15 years. White House officials anticipated this, and the president has decided to take a non-traditional approach to getting his message out. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video S. Korean Businesses Want to End Trade Restrictions With North

Business leaders in South Korea are calling for President Park Geun-hye to ease trade restrictions with North Korea that were put in place in 2010 after the sinking of a South Korean warship.Pro-business groups argue that expanding trade and investment is not only good for business, it is also good for long-term regional peace and security. VOA’s Brian Padden reports.
Video

Video US Marching Bands Grow Into a Show of Their Own

The 2014 Super Bowl halftime show was the most-watched in history - attracting an estimated 115 million viewers. That event featured pop star Bruno Mars. But the halftime show tradition started with marching bands, which still dominate the entertainment at U.S. high school and college American football games. But as Enming Liu reports in this story narrated by Adrianna Zhang, marching bands have grown into a show of their own.
Video

Video Secular, Religious Kurds Face Off in Southeast Turkey

Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast has been rocked by violence between religious and secular Kurds. Dorian Jones reports on the reasons behind the stand-off from the region's main city of Diyarbakir, which suffered the bloodiest fighting.
Video

Video Kenya: Misuse of Antibiotics Leading to Resistance by Immune System

In Kenya, the rise of drug resistant bacteria could reverse the gains made by medical science over diseases that were once treatable. Kenyans could be at risk of fatalities as a result if the power in antibiotics is not preserved. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story from Nairobi.
Video

Video Solar-Powered Plane Getting Ready to Circumnavigate Globe

Pilots of the solar plane that already set records flying without a drop of fuel are close to making their first attempt to fly the craft around the globe. They plan to do it in 25 flying days over a five month period. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video How Experts Decide Ethiopia Has the Best Coffee

Ethiopia’s coffee has been ranked as the best in the world by an international group of coffee connoisseurs. Not surprisingly, coffee is a top export for the country. But at home it is a source of pride. Marthe van der Wolf in Addis Ababa decided to find out what makes the bean and brew so special and how experts make their determinations.
Video

Video Yazidi Refugees at Center of Political Fight Between Turkey, Kurds

The treatment of thousands of Yazidis refugees who fled to Turkey to escape attacks by Islamic State militants has become the center of a dispute between the Turkish government and the country's pro-Kurdish movement. VOA's Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video World’s Richest 1% Forecast to Own More Than Half of Global Wealth

The combined wealth of the world's richest 1 percent will overtake that of the remaining 99 percent at some point in 2016, according to the anti-poverty charity Oxfam. Campaigners are demanding that policymakers take action to address the widening gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’, as Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid