In the New England Journal of Medicine, Professor of Public Health Dr. Prabhat Jha of the University of Toronto and Professor of Medical Statistics and Epidemiology Sir Richard Peto of Oxford University argued this week that by 2025 countries could lower one-third of worldwide smoking by doubling tobacco excise taxes.
The 2025 marker refers to a deadline The World Health Organization gave as a challenge to leaders at last year's World Health Assembly.
A tax hike has already worked well in parts of Canada and France. Jha and Peto believe that hiking cigarette costs would force smokers from an addiction that's expected before the end of this century to kill approximately one billion people, including non-smokers.
“We hope this will spur governments to (recognize) it’s a no-brainer. There is more revenue, fewer deaths and all sorts of benefits for the population,” said Dr. Prabhat Jha.
Jha referred to tobacco taxes as a public health “silver bullet." He and Peto don't believe any other method can hope to achieve the results needed by 2025 given that worldwide one person out of seven currently smokes.
Jha and Peto explained that cigarettes are cheaper and easier to purchase in poorer developing countries where fewer smokers quit. They believe an excise tax would make it extremely difficult for tobacco companies to target the poor with cheap tobacco products.
On The Web:
Hiking tobacco taxes are best way to cut smoking: experts
Hiking tobacco taxes best way to reduce smoking: experts