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Editors/Authors: Prabhat Jha, Frank J. Chaloupka, James Moore, Vendhan Gajalakshmi, Prakash C. Gupta, Richard Peck, Samira Asma, and Witold Zatonski
Pages: 18


Richard Lord,

Cigarette smoking and other forms of tobacco use impose a large and growing global public health burden, causing nearly 5 million deaths annually. Based on current smoking patterns, annual tobacco deaths will rise to 10 million by 2030.

Most of the 1 billion tobacco deaths expected in the 21st century will occur in low–income countries. By contrast, the 20th century saw 100 million tobacco deaths, most of them in Western countries and the former socialist economies. Hundreds of millions of such deaths could be avoided if effective interventions were widely applied.

Studies from high–, low–, and middle–income countries show that tobacco use can be reduced through interventions such as tobacco tax increases, information about health risks, restrictions on smoking in public and workplaces, bans on advertising and promotion, and increased access to cessation therapies.

For reasons that have not been adequately studied, the use of policy interventions such as sales taxes to reduce tobacco use is uneven around the globe. The most obvious constraint to tobacco control comes from the tobacco industry, which is well organized and well funded. But earmarking tobacco taxes for uses that the public will support can be a key political tool for effecting change. The World Health Organization's 2003 Framework Convention on Tobacco Control may also encourage adopting countries to implement appropriate measures.