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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 
    by: tim in seattle from: seattle wa
    January 02, 2014 3:50 PM
    excellent idea
    also, a LOT of people die in auto accidents each year, so we need to stop making cars and building roads.
    the list can go on
    make sure we never leave our homes.. or take a shower, or eat a piece of bacon......
    Oh, and by the way, smokers, knock it off, it's bad for you and is offensive to the rest of us.

    by: peebee from: hampshire
    January 02, 2014 3:47 PM
    why do they think that taxing everything is the answer, people die, FACT, if they enjoy their vices, let them get on with it, and when they're ill give them the choice of uthenasia, and save the health services loads of money. Harsh I know, but an option.

    by: C Shell from: USA
    January 02, 2014 3:23 PM
    We will continue to use ecigs....jerks.

    by: cawmentor from: 'Merica
    January 02, 2014 3:13 PM
    The program is going to be called "lets bankrupt the addict"
    from the makers of "kicking them when they are down", and "lets give the alcoholic some more alcohol"

    by: Northernscout from: Victoria BC Canada
    January 02, 2014 2:45 PM
    Smoking, drinking, drugs, they are all natural means of population control. I moved into an office where there were approx 250 employees and half smoked. When I left there most of the smokers never reached retirement at 65. Office workers sitting around on their behinds are at most risk it seems. Anyway, keep smoking it boosts the pensions of the rest of us who don't smoke. Cut back the taxes. Perfect.

    by: Pierre Gazzola
    January 02, 2014 2:35 PM
    This will result like in Canada, instead of paying 80 buck per cartoon We now buy it from the Indian at 13 buck Government did not benefit from the increase Higher tax are more black market and illegal activity is done

    by: Eugenics Plan from: USA
    January 02, 2014 2:23 PM
    But get your FLU SHOT everyone, so we can KILL YOU with the thimerisol and ethyl MERCURY that is in it. Get your FLU Shot!!!

    by: Bashir from: Toronto
    January 02, 2014 2:23 PM
    It is a very good idea

    Same should happen for Alcohol since that ruins the liver too

    How about that?

    by: John
    January 02, 2014 2:22 PM
    This is completely wrong. People wills till smoke you will just make the people who do more poor. Seeing as how usually it is poorer people who smoke the most, this is another way of keeping the have nots down. Why dont we raise the taxes on alcohol too while were at it from all of those who die from alcoholism? It isnt the governments job to tell us what we can and cant do. If people want to give themselves cancer then let them. Its not your problem. Im sick of people thinking they can save lives by adding taxes. This is the most ridiculous statement ive ever seen. They raised taxes on cigarettes in NY. Where only 14% of the population smokes. Look and see how many people actually quit smoking because the cost was too high. Correct answer, next to no one. Do better reporting. This is completely bogus.
    In Response

    by: Mike from: New Zealand
    January 02, 2014 4:56 PM
    Hey John, I like your comment. In my country we refer to the meddling government as 'Nanny State'. Like you, I am also sick of this kind of manipulation and control by those in power. Let us live and die as we choose. Politicians don't give a rat's about keeping people healthy, nor are they actually very concerned with raising revenues - it is all just a big game of 'rich get richer'.

    by: fp from: New York City
    January 02, 2014 2:12 PM
    Not from working, but or does encourage under-the-table employment. Spain is a good example of this, where a large portion of workers 18-34 prefer unreported employment. This has also had a dramatic effect on the sustainability of social government programs, where the returned tax can't support the whole , and has led to severe corruption.
    Comments page of 3
     Previous   Next 

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora