Tag: Tobacco

 

The World’s Most Profitable Slow-Motion Disaster: Tobacco

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In April, I attended a very hopeful event sponsored by the World Bank entitled, “Tobacco Taxation Win-Win for Public Health and Domestic Resources Mobilization.” My optimism was buoyed by seeing people from different ministries, disciplines, and perspectives all recognizing the need to raise tobacco taxes and sharing ideas on how to reduce the death toll from smoking. Then the bubble burst. I got home and saw a Wall Street Journal article about the increasing profitability of cigarette corporations in the US domestic market—a reminder that, unbelievably, we are still on the defensive against this large, growing, and completely avoidable disaster.

The IMF Finally Speaks on Tobacco Taxes

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Last November, the IMF released a workable guide to issues that come up when a country decides to raise tobacco taxes. This is a big step. As far as I know, this is the first public statement from the IMF on tobacco taxes since 1999. Yet while it recognizes the health effects of reducing tobacco consumption, the technical note never addresses how you would make sure that tobacco taxes reduce smoking.

Tobacco: Control or Eradicate? – Podcast with David Sweanor and Bill Savedoff

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A billion premature deaths this century—that’s the estimated toll of smoking. As 80% of the world’s smokers live in low- to middle-income countries, that’s a huge problem for the developing world. So what’s the solution? You’ve heard before from CGD senior fellow Bill Savedoff that increasing tobacco taxes can actually help turn people away from nicotine; on this week’s podcast, you’ll hear another idea. 

Tobacco Control or Eradication: Are ENDS part of an endgame?

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Is the tobacco epidemic more like smallpox or HIV? It’s an important question. If it is like smallpox, then we can pursue strategies to eradicate tobacco as a risk to human health. However, if it is like HIV, we instead need to be thinking in terms of controlling and managing the epidemic.

The World Bank Keeps Missing Opportunities to Save Lives and Mobilize Domestic Revenues

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I have argued that tobacco taxes are the single best health policy that any country could implement. The World Bank is the most prominent organization in the world with the skills, mandate, and network to support raising tobacco taxes in developing countries where the number of smokers and shortened lives is increasing every year. Yet, the World Bank has committed far too little to this effort. One of the key reasons is that World Bank management has let this best-buy for development fall between the cracks – tobacco is a health issue and taxes are a fiscal policy issue.

Publications

The single most cost-effective way to save lives in developing countries is in the hands of developing countries themselves: raising tobacco taxes. In fact, raising tobacco taxes is better than cost-effective. It saves lives while increasing revenues and saving poor households money when their members quit smoking.

The Tobacco Epidemic – Bill Savedoff

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Tobacco related diseases cut short the lives of 100 million people last century, a number expected to surge to 1 billion this century, according to CGD senior fellow Bill Savedoff. Tobacco use has the makings of a staggering epidemic, one taking an increasing toll on low- and middle-income countries. Bill and I discuss the health costs imposed on those countries and tax policies for curbing tobacco usage. 

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