A sobering new study by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute says smoking costs the world’s economies roughly $1-trillion a year, and is expected to kill a third more people by 2030 than it does now.
That trillion-dollar price tag vastly outweighs worldwide revenues from tobacco taxes, which the WHO estimates was about $269-billion in 2013-2014.
"The number of tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from about six million deaths annually to about eight million annually by 2030, with more than 80 percent of these occurring in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries)," reads the study.
The report says tobacco use is the biggest preventable cause of death worldwide.
"It is responsible for... likely over $1-trillion in health care costs and lost productivity each year," reads the study, which was peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts.
The report adds that global governments have largely neglected to use the tools necessary to reduce tobacco use and associated deaths. In fact, governments spent less than $1 billion on tobacco control in 2013-2014, according to the report.
"Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the time for action is now."
The report offered a range of effective policies, including increasing tobacco taxes and prices, comprehensive smoke-free policies, total bans on tobacco marketing and highly visible pictorial warning labels on tobacco products. It also suggests using tobacco taxes to fund major anti-tobacco campaigns and support for cessation services and treatments.