Smoking costs the world economy $1 trillion per year, World Health Organization says


Smoking and its side effects cost the world’s economies more than $1 trillion and kill about 6 million people each year – with deaths expected to rise by more than a third by 2030, according to a report from the World Health Organization and the National Cancer Institute.

Those losses exceed annual global revenue from tobacco taxes, estimated to be $269 billion in 2013-14, according to the report released Tuesday. Of that, less than $1 billion was invested in tobacco control.

“The economic impact of tobacco on countries, and the general public, is huge, as this new report shows,” Oleg Chestnov, WHO’s assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health, said in a statement. “The tobacco industry produces and markets products that kill millions of people prematurely, rob households of finances that could have been used for food and education, and impose immense health care costs on families, communities and countries.”

Most of those who suffer health problems from tobacco use live in developing countries, according to the report. With 80 percent of the world’s 1.1 billion smokers living in low- and middle-income countries, tobacco’s devastating side effects place a disproportionate burden on the poor, the report said.

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The report recommends that countries adopt policies to control tobacco use, including taxing and raising the price of cigarettes, to save lives.

More than 60 authors – physicians, public health experts, researchers and other scientists – contributed to the report, which was peer-reviewed by more than 70 reviewers.

Spokesmen for major U.S. tobacco companies and American tobacco lobbyists were not immediately available for comment early Tuesday morning.