Rise in Cigarette Prices Might Save 450 Million Years of Life

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New study reveals that fifty percent rise in cigarette prices would help millions of people around 13 countries to avoid poor health and extreme poverty

Researchers from the Global Tobacco Economics Consortium set out to predict the effect of a 50 per cent increase in cigarette prices on health, poverty, and financial protection in middle income countries including India, China, Turkey, and Mexico – with a total of 500 million male smokers.

As a part of study, researchers used a model to measure the impact of quitting by age and income group on life years gained, treatment costs averted, avoiding catastrophic medical costs, and poverty, and additional tax revenue.

The findings of the study was published their findings in the BMJ. The study concluded that the 50% price increase would lead to about 450 million years of life gained across the 13 countries from quitting, with half of these in China. Across all countries, 155 million men in the poorest 20 per cent of the population would gain seven times more life years than the 23 million men in the richest 20% of the population. The average number of life years gained from quitting for each smoker in the bottom income group was five times that of the top group. Prices were raised by increasing tobacco excise taxes to reach the target price in each country.

People on low incomes have the most to gain and the researchers say modest action by many governments ‘could yield unprecedented health gains and poverty reduction.’ However, much information is not available regarding same. Economists and public health advocates agree that a substantial price increase on tobacco will result in decreased tobacco consumption and resulting illness, mentioned US researchers in a linked editorial.

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