True cost of smoking revealed

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Smoking costs the global economy more than $1 trillion a year, and will kill one third more people by 2030 than it does now, according to a study by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute.

That cost outweighs global revenues from taxes on tobacco, which the WHO estimated at $269 billion in 2013-2014. 

The study, peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts, said that the number of tobacco-related deaths is ‘projected to increase from about 6 million deaths annually to about 8 million annually by 2030, with more than 80 percent of these occurring in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries)’.

Although smoking prevalence was falling among the global population, the total number of smokers worldwide is rising, the study said. 

Tobacco use is the single biggest preventable cause of death globally, according to health experts.

The 688-page report said that despite governments having the tools to reduce tobacco use and associated deaths, the majority have fallen short.

‘Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the time for action is now,’ the report stated.