Raising Cigarette Price By 50% Will Save Millions Of People In India: Study

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A 50% increase in the price of cigarettes can save India 45 million years of life, a group of economists and public health researchers have said.

By studying the cigarette smoking habits of 490 million men in 13 middle-income countries, including India, they found that low-income Indians would not only gain many more years of living from a sharp increase in price of cigarettes, but would also be spared catastrophic health consequences which generally result in very high direct expenses.

Based on the current pattern, smoking will be responsible for around one billion deaths in the 21st century, most of which will occur in low- and middle-income countries like India.

Effective tobacco control, they say, could prevent hundreds of millions of premature deaths, and tobacco taxation is the most effective measure to increase quit rates and deter young people from starting to smoke.

A sharp increase in excise duties on cigarettes is also crucial due to the evolution of smoking in India. A 2016 study showed that over the past two decades, cigarettes have increasingly replaced bidi, especially among young people and low-income people.

In their study, the researchers calculated the gains in terms of years of life saved after taking into account the number of male smokers, their age, the duration of smoking and their ability to pay.

Help to get rid of misery

“A 50% increase in the price of cigarettes would save an estimated 450 million life years in 13 countries, nearly half of which in China, followed by Indonesia and India. In addition, around 20 million people around the world could escape extreme poverty for a year. 50% higher cigarette prices, ”researchers from the Global Tobacco Economics Consortium reported in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal.

In the past, public health researchers have repeatedly criticized Indian finance ministers for a slight increase in excise duty in the budget because such a small increase only helps people switch brands rather than quitting. To smoke.

Currently, the tax is only about 43% of the retail price of a cigarette in India. It is one of the lowest among the 13 middle-income countries studied by the consortium. The World Bank had previously recommended that taxes on tobacco products range between 65 and 80 percent of the retail price in order to force smokers to quit.


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