Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Tobacco control economics


Tobacco use is among the leading preventable causes of death. Each year, the global tobacco epidemic kills nearly 6 million people, including more than 600,000 who die from exposure to second-hand smoke. It is on track to kill more than 8 million by 2030, by which time approximately 80% of the deaths would occur in low- and middle-income countries.

The costs of tobacco use are measured in its enormous toll of disease, suffering and family distress. Economies also suffer from increased health-care costs and decreased productivity.


Increasing the price of tobacco through higher taxes is the single most effective way to encourage tobacco users to quit and prevent children from starting to smoke.

Tax avoidance and illicit production and distribution

Taxes may create financial incentives for those who engage in illegal activities.

Innovative financing for health

Health is underfunded in low- and middle-income countries and income from tobacco taxes can help bridge the gap.

Other economic issues in tobacco control

A total ban on tobacco marketing can substantially reduce tobacco consumption and, consequently, tobacco-related deaths and diseases.

Who we are

A team of tobacco control and tax experts working on the economics aspects of tobacco control.

Country engagements

The main purpose of this collaborative work is to explore ways to configure tax policy and administration.

Workshops and meetings

The purpose of those workshops is to improve knowledge and capacity of officials on tobacco taxation.

Country profiles

The profiles include useful data and analysis related to cigarette taxation and prices as well as information about exports, imports, production and illicit trade.

Economics resources and publications

Social media

Contact us

WHO Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (PND)
Noncommunicable Diseases and Mental Health
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27
Telephone: +41 22 791 4426
Fax: + 41 22 791 4832