Raise tobacco taxes to curb deaths: US expert

August 9th, 2011 - 12:00 am ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 8 (IANS) Increasing taxes on tobacco can save up to a million lives, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention director Thomas R. Frieden said here Monday.

Advocating higher tax on tobacco, Frieden said half a million to a million lives could be saved by making tobacco expensive, and hence difficult to afford.

“Taxation is the single most effective way to curb use of tobacco. Unfortunately, tobacco has become affordable for many, a little increase in the tax can prevent half a million to a million deaths,” said Frieden, who is on a visit to India.

He said that imposing taxes on ‘bidi’ is difficult as it is mostly in an unorganised sector.

Citing the example of Uruguay which reduced its tobacco use by 25 percent in just three years, he added that tough legislations can help reduce smoking.

He also said that studies have shown that tobacco farmers were not adversely effected by discouraging tobacco use.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is America’s premier health promotion, prevention and preparedness agency, and a global leader in public health.

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