Tripling tobacco taxes globally would cut smoking by a third and prevent 200 million premature deaths this century from lung cancer and other diseases, according to a Cancer Research UK review published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday.
‘Boosting the tax by a large fixed amount per cigarette would narrow the price gap between the most and least expensive cigarettes, so it would encourage people to quit smoking altogether rather than switch to a cheaper brand, and would help stop young people from starting,’ according to a Cancer Research Campaign report.
‘This would be especially effective in low-to-middle-income countries where the cheapest cigarettes are relatively affordable. But it would also be effective in richer countries: France halved cigarette consumption from 1990 to 2005 by raising taxes well above inflation.’
“The two certainties in life are death and taxes,” said the review’s co-author, Professor Sir Richard Peto, Cancer Research UK epidemiologist based at the University of Oxford. “We want higher tobacco taxes and fewer tobacco deaths. It would help children not to start, and it would help many adults to stop while there’s still time.”
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