17 January 2017:
MANILA, Philippines – With cigarettes remaining to be a leading cause of preventable premature deaths, tobacco control measures are highly cost-effective and can boost national economies, a World Health Organization (WHO) report said.
Done with the United States’ National Cancer Institute (NCI), the new report, titled “The economics of tobacco and tobacco control,” said curtailing cigarette use “strengthens the economy and can save lives.”
Citing the report, the Southeast Asian Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) urged member-economies of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen their anti-tobacco policies.
The group said tobacco kills about half a million people a year in the region, where half of adult men smoke and where 10 percent of 125 million of the world’s smokers live.
“Tobacco use in the ASEAN also burdens national economies with more than $10 billion in health care costs and lost productivity annually,” the SEATCA noted.?SEATCA added while progress is being made to control the global tobacco epidemic, existing measures have not yet been used to their full potential.
These include significant tobacco tax and price increases, comprehensive bans on tobacco industry marketing activities, prominent pictorial health warning labels, smoke-free policies and population-wide tobacco cessation programs.