By Muhammed Ali Gurtas
The use of deadly smoking products of the tobacco industry costs the world economies over $1 trillion annually in healthcare spending plus six million lives, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) release about 'the economics of tobacco and tobacco control' report on Tuesday.
WHO stated that there were globally 1.1 billion tobacco smokers aged 15 or older, with around 80 percent living in low- and middle-income countries, and more than 225 million smokers live in poverty.
"The tobacco industry and the deadly impact of its products cost the world’s economies more than US$ 1 trillion annually in healthcare expenditures and lost productivity," WHO said.
The United Nations organization remarked that around six million people die annually as a result of tobacco use, with most living in developing countries.
"The tobacco industry produces and markets products that kill millions of people prematurely, rob households of finances that could have been used for food and education, and impose immense healthcare costs on families, communities and countries," said Dr. Oleg Chestnov from WHO, according to the release.
WHO underlined the tobacco control interventions like rising taxes and prices, smoke-free policies and population-wide tobacco cessation programs, bans on tobacco industry marketing activities help governments to reduce demand for tobacco products and do not harm the economies.
According to WHO, the market power of tobacco companies has increased in recent years, creating new challenges for tobacco control efforts.
"As of 2014, five tobacco companies accounted for 85 percent of the global cigarette market. Policies aimed at limiting the market power of tobacco companies are largely untested but hold promise for reducing tobacco use," said the written statement.
WHO stressed that tobacco control is a key component of the health organization's global response to the epidemic of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs), primarily cardiovascular disease, cancers, chronic obstructed pulmonary disease and diabetes.
"This report shows how lives can be saved and economies can prosper when governments implement cost-effective, proven measures, like significantly increasing taxes and prices on tobacco products, and banning tobacco marketing and smoking in public," said Dr. Douglas Bettcher from WHO, in the written statement.
NCDs account for the deaths of around 16 million people prematurely -before their 70th birthdays- annually, according to WHO.