The health risks of using tobacco are well documented. And just about every scheme has been tried to get people to quit smoking.
This year the World Health Organization's Tobacco Free Initiative is marking World No Tobacco Day on May 31 by advocating for a global hike in taxes on tobacco.
A tax increase that increases tobacco prices by 10% decreases tobacco consumption by about 4% in high-income countries and by up to 8% in most low- and middle-income countries.
The WHO calls increasing taxes on tobacco "the most cost-effective tobacco control measure." It also makes good financial sense.
The World Health Report 2010 indicated that a 50% increase in tobacco excise taxes would generate a little more than US$1.4 billion in additional funds in 22 low-income countries. If allocated to health, government health spending in these countries could increase by up to 50%.
Tobacco kills some 6 million people each year, including 600,000 non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.
Learn more about the initiative and how you can support it.
Source: Ads of the World