A report from a group of leading economists urges poorer countries to adopt or increase tobacco taxes to help save lives.
‘Once in human history’
The report, published in The Lancet, states that there is a “once in human history” opportunity to banish health disparities between rich and poorer countries.
The authors recommend increased investment in worldwide health to fight killer diseases. They also suggested taking bold preventative steps in public health, such as imposing higher taxes on substances that can be harmful, like sugar and alcohol.
Health disparities between countries
Taking China as an example, the report said a 50% tax on cigarettes could prevent 20 million early deaths and generate $20 billion yearly over the next 50 years.
The report points to the success of China, Cuba, Chile, and Costa Rica in fighting health infections despite low-income levels in the 1980s.
The authors argued that if their recommendations were followed, nearly 10 million lives could be saved in low-income and middle-income nations in the year 2035 alone.