Raising cigarette taxes reduces smoking


new research published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that there could be 1 billion smoking related deaths this century mostly in low and middle income countries the researchers argued that large tax increases are the single best way to get current smokers to quit and the doubling of street prices could save 200 million lives worldwide there’s about 1.3 billion smokers most of whom are in low and middle income countries in China and India and these other populations smoking is still increasing and the risks are getting bigger there will be about 1 billion deaths from smoking in this century most of those occurring in low-income countries if you can try to know about 60% of the men in middle-age smoke we’re already in the middle of a big increase in death from tobacco in Chinese men I mean back in about 1990 about 12% of the male deaths in China would have been caused by smoking by 2010 it was up to about 20% by the 2030s it’ll be about 30% so about a third of the premature deaths in Chinese men will be caused by smoking if they keep on smoking the way they are the hazards of smoking have only recently been documented and smokers can lose up to 10 years of life by continuing to smoke but dr. ja reminds us that quitting works and that smokers who quit before they turn 40 avoid 90 percent of the excess risk of those who continue smoking the Surgeon General’s report issued 50 years ago was a landmark report and turned the tobacco epidemic around in the United States consumption has fallen by about two-thirds since that time and the numbers of deaths from smoking are less than half what they were at the peak of the smoking epidemic the message for developing countries is that you don’t need to wait 50 years to reduce consumption in Canada it took us 30 years to cut smoking in half from about 11 cigarettes per day down to 5 but France and South Africa were able to cut smoking in half in less than 15 years and reason they did so is they raise taxes above the rate of inflation every year and that substantially reduced consumption if tobacco taxes were tripled worldwide that would double the street price and that would avoid over the century about 200 million deaths from smoking much of that among current smokers tobacco tax is unusual in that it not only reduces deaths but also can raise more revenue for governments so worldwide there is currently about 300 billion dollars of revenue raised from tobacco taxation if prices were to double governments would raise another hundred billion in tobacco taxes and that can be put to all sorts of good things for example in the u.s. the expansion of children’s health insurance is being funded by a tobacco tax so it’s said that death and taxes are inevitable but they don’t need to be in that order higher tobacco tax is the single best intervention to reduce premature death worldwide you