The World Health Organization target is to reduce tobacco use prevalence 30% by 2025. But in recent years (2010 to 2015), world smoking prevalence has reduced only slightly, from 22% to 21%. To meet the target, the world adult smoking prevalence rate will need to fall to 15% by 2025.
We are not yet close to meeting this target, but tobacco taxes can help enormously to achieve it. Put simply, significant tax hikes increase cigarette prices. With higher prices, cigarettes become less affordable, particularly for children and youth, and many smokers will buy less of them or, hopefully, stop buying them altogether. Higher prices also make cigarettes less accessible to children and teenagers. A 10% increase in price typically leads to a 4% to 8% decrease in overall consumption and more than a 2% decrease in the number of smokers. Tobacco kills more than half of its users from tobacco-attributable illnesses. More than 20% of tobacco-attributable deaths are from cancer. For lung cancer alone, more than 80% of deaths stem from tobacco use. Broadly speaking, the deaths of at least a third of smokers can be averted by tax and price interventions that lead them to quit smoking. To reach the WHO target, world average cigarette prices need to quadruple by 2025, requiring an average 7-fold excise tax increase. We believe that this scenario is attainable, but we need you to play an active role in convincing your government that this is possible and tremendously beneficial for public health.
1 in 5
1 in every 5 cancer deaths is attributable to tobacco use.
Each year, nearly 6,000,000 people
die from this deadly habit
Tobacco taxation is one of the most effective and cost-effective measures for controlling tobacco use and preventing non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer. But how do we harness it better towards country-specific public health goals and targets?
The American Cancer Society’s Economic and Health Policy Research team recognizes that country partners need the best available information to help their governments understand how they can use tobacco taxation as an effective method to meet global NCD, cancer and tobacco control goals, so they have developed a modeling tool that identifies accurately the necessary tobacco excise tax increases. Using this model, the team has developed country-specific fact sheets for nearly 80 countries, which are available upon request. The team can also work to generate fact sheets for other countries if needed. The team is thrilled to hear from you if you wish to learn more or if you would like your country’s fact sheet, and/or to explore in more depth how to best understand and use your fact sheet in your smart tax policy efforts.