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Tobacco-related deaths will rise to 8 mn by 2030: Report

Geneva, Jan 10 (IANS) The global total annual number of deaths linked to tobacco consumption will increase from the current six million to eight million by 2030, according to a study by the World Health Organisation and the US National Cancer Institute.


Around 80 per cent of smokers across the world live in low and middle-income countries, and will pay a higher price in tackling the economic consequences of the addiction, said the study released on Tuesday.


"The number of tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from about six million deaths annually to about eight million annually by 2030," says the report, titled 'The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control'.


Although tobacco consumption is declining at the global level, there is a great risk that WHO will not meet its target of reducing tobacco consumption by 30 per cent by 2025, the study adds.


Another section of the study looks at the consequences of passive smoking for individuals and also for public health systems, which in many cases bear the cost of treatment.


The report urges governments to invest more in information and prevention campaigns, due to the attractiveness of tobacco to young people, who are often not fully aware of its harmful consequences.


"Effective policy and programmatic interventions are available to reduce the demand for tobacco products and the death, disease, and economic costs that result from their use, but these interventions are underutilised."


The report cites high taxes on tobacco, policies on establishing smoke-free spaces, banning marketing of tobacco and campaigns to spread awareness, as the most effective but not sufficiently used measures.


However, the authors of the study say, the problem lies in the fact that few governments invest the money collected from tobacco taxation in anti-tobacco policies.


WHO estimates that in 2013-2014 global taxes on tobacco generated nearly $269 billion in government revenues, but governments spent less than $1 billion on tobacco control measures.


The study adds that it has been verified that increasing prices has a direct impact on reducing consumption among the poor.


Finally, the report stresses that tobacco control measures do not harm economies as in recent years the number of jobs depending on tobacco has been falling in most countries, mostly due to technological innovations, globalization and privatisation, rather than the fight against addiction.


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