Hike tobacco taxes to cut smoking: experts

A pair of leading tobacco control experts are urging countries to significantly boost tobacco excise taxes, saying it is the best way to reach the global goal of cutting the prevalence of smoking by one-third by 2025.

TORONTO — A pair of leading tobacco control experts are urging countries to significantly boost tobacco excise taxes, saying it is the best way to reach the global goal of cutting the prevalence of smoking by one-third by 2025.

The experts say a steep rise in tobacco excise taxes would double the cost of cigarettes on the street in developing countries where prices are currently low and the numbers of smokers are climbing rapidly.

They say this type of approach has resulted in substantial reductions in the portion of the population that smokes in countries that have used it, including Canada and France.

The arguments are laid out in a review article by Dr. Prabhat Jha, a public health professor at the University of Toronto, and Sir Richard Peto, a professor of medical statistics and epidemiology at Oxford University.

The article is published in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.

They say that if current smoking patterns continue unabated, about one billion people will die from tobacco-related causes this century, most of them in low- and middle-income countries.

Doubling the cost of cigarettes would prompt some current smokers to quit and prevent others from starting, leading to a major drop in tobacco deaths.

“There are no magic bullets in public health. But tobacco taxes are as close to a silver bullet as you can think of,” Jha, who is also with Toronto’s St. Michael’s Hospital, said in an interview from New Delhi.

“Higher taxes are the single best way to get people to quit smoking. Quitting seriously would avoid something like 200 million premature deaths this century.”

The 2013 World Health Assembly — the annual general meeting of the World Health Organization — issued the challenge to governments to reduce smoking among their populations by 2025.

“Without large price increases, a reduction in smoking by a third would be difficult to achieve,” Jha and Peto argue.

Jha says that as incomes rise in countries like India, smoking is growing in popularity. He and Peto say that about 1.3 billion people — or one out of every seven people on the globe — smoke. Most of those smokers are in developing countries, where quitting is not common.

“The reason smoking is going up in poor countries is because cigarettes are cheap. Particularly when incomes have grown, people are able to buy cigarettes at a lower price relative to their incomes.”

Raising excise taxes on tobacco would start to close that gap, Jha says.

Just Posted

People hurt in rollover near Red Deer

Occupants of a vehicle that rolled south of Hwy 11A were airlifted… Continue reading

Eager-beaver cannabis entrepreneurs already waiting outside Red Deer City Hall

Appications will be accepted on a first-come basis starting on Tuesday

Like father like son: Red Deer area Dreeshen family dedicates life to public service

There are three jobs that could be considered the Dreeshen family business:… Continue reading

Restaurant owner concerned about Gasoline Alley road changes

Nearly 20 trucks were lined up on the service road in front… Continue reading

Preliminary hearings set for two men charged in weapons and drugs bust

A Red Deer man and Sylvan Lake man are facing 80 charges

WATCH: Hypnotizing show at Westerner Days

Hynotist and mentalist Joshua Seth performs three times a day at Westerner Days

WWII hero’s lost Purple Heart returned to his family

NEW YORK — A lost Purple Heart medal has been returned to… Continue reading

California girl, 2, accidentally shot and killed by boy, 4

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. — Authorities say a 4-year-old boy accidentally shot and… Continue reading

A hairy issue: Sailors tell the US Navy, ‘We want beards’

PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Now that women in the Navy can wear ponytails,… Continue reading

PHOTOS: River Town Saints rock Red Deer

River Town Saints play Westerner Days Friday in Red Deer

PHOTOS: Dogs, horses and more animals at Westerner Days

Westerner Park’s pavilions were filled with animals during Westerner Days

Red Deer residents can’t get enough mini-doughnuts

Mini-doughnuts were the biggest draw to Westerner Days according to a Red… Continue reading

Four-car crash, including RCMP vehicle, on Highway 2

Two sheriff vehicles were also involved in the collision

Divers hunt for 4 after Missouri duck boat sinks, killing 13

BRANSON, Mo. — Divers are searching Friday for four people still missing… Continue reading

Most Read

Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month