The real cost of smoking is high, especially high on your health. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), tobacco kills around 6 million people each year, out of which 600,000 are the results of non-smokers being exposed to second-hand smoke. The cost of smoking is also high on the global economy, as smoking burdens global health systems, hinders economic development, and deprives families of financial resources that could have been spent on education, food, shelter, or other needs.
Tobacco use is the world’s leading underlying cause of preventable death. It contributes to a great number of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), which account for 63% of all deaths. Prevention of tobacco use can significantly decrease the number of preventable deaths worldwide, encourage economic development, reduce poverty, encourage healthy lifestyle choices and support Sustainable Development Goals.
In order to prevent and reduce youth tobacco use, in February 2014 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) put forward a national public education campaign titled “The Real Cost.” The following video is a part of this campaign:
It is no surprise that tobacco is made of extremely toxic materials. But did you know that “Tobacco smoke contains more than 7000 chemicals, of which at least 250 are known to be harmful and at least 69 are known to cause cancer?” Here are some of the chemicals contained in tobacco smoke:World Health Organization (WHO)
What are the global actors doing about this issue?
Many of the international organizations, government agencies, civil society organizations, private sector, communities, and private citizens raising awareness about the negative effects of smoking, funding programs to decrease global tobacco use, and promoting smoke-free lifestyles. Many of them also agree that tobacco tax increases are the single most effective policy to reduce tobacco use. Tobacco tax increases reduce consumption and promote quitting, they are inexpensive to implement, and they are especially effective in reducing tobacco use by vulnerable populations. (Tobacco use is increasingly concentrated in populations with the lowest income and socioeconomic status, and explains a large proportion of socioeconomic disparities in health.)
In the fight against tobacco use, the World Bank Group (WBG) is making its mark. Fully aligned with the WBG’s twin goals of ending poverty by 2030, and boosting shared prosperity, global tobacco control has become a development priority for WBG. Since 1991 the WBG’s policy has been not to lend, invest in, or guarantee investments or loans for tobacco production, processing, or marketing. WBG’s Tobacco Control Program assists selected countries in fostering and implementing tobacco tax reforms to achieve public health goals by reducing tobacco affordability and consumption, and controlling illicit trade on tobacco.
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