Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Tobacco control: saving lives and driving development

WHO/Y. Shimizu

Geneva , 28 February 2017 - Tobacco use poses an unparalleled health and economic burden worldwide. But a new study by the US National Cancer Institute and WHO, titled The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control, shows highly cost-effective measures exist to control the health and economic impacts of tobacco that pose no harm to economies and, in turn, save lives and generate financial gains for communities and governments.

Tobacco control economics

WHO

Tobacco use is one of the leading preventable causes of death, killing more than 7 million people every year. More than its enormous toll of disease, suffering, and death, tobacco use also burdens the global economy with an estimated US$ 1.4 trillion in healthcare costs and lost productivity each year.

Latest news

  • September 2017

    • Tobacco tax reform at the crossroads of health and development
      The World Bank has released its latest tobacco control technical report, with input from WHO. The report details how increasing excise tax rates on tobacco reduces its affordability and lowers its consumption. This underutilized policy measure can simultaneously save millions of lives, reduce poverty, and increase domestic resources for financing development.

Taxation

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.

Latest publications

World No Tobacco Day 2017 cover
WHO
  • Tobacco threatens us all
    The brochure "Tobacco threatens us all", published for World No Tobacco Day 2017, describes how tobacco use has devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences.

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Contact us

WHO Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases (PND)
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Telephone: +41 22 791 4426
Fax: + 41 22 791 4832
E-mail: tfi@who.int