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New edition of the Tobacco Atlas catalogues catastrophic toll of tobacco worldwide
Date:3/6/2009

(March 9, 2009, Mumbai, India) Today World Lung Foundation and the American Cancer Society published The Tobacco Atlas, Third Edition and released an online version of the document at TobaccoAtlas.org. This comprehensive volume of research and its accompanying website graphically display how tobacco is devastating both global health and economies.

A $500 Billion Hole in Global Economy

According to The Tobacco Atlas, tobacco's estimated $500 billion drain on the world economy exceeds the total combined annual expenditure on health in all low-and middle-income countries. The economic costs come as a result of lost productivity, misused resources, ineffective taxation and premature death:

  • Because 25 percent of smokers die and many more become ill during their most productive years, income loss devastates families and communities.
  • Cigarettes are the world's most widely smuggled legal consumer product. In 2006, about 600 billion smuggled cigarettes made it to the market, representing an enormous missed tax opportunity for governments, as well as a missed opportunity to prevent many people from starting to smoke and encourage others to quit. A ten percent increase in cigarette prices reduces demand by up to five percent among adults, with even better results among young smokers.
  • Tobacco replaces potential food production on almost 4 million hectares of the world's agricultural land, equal to all of the world's orange groves or banana plantations.
  • In developing countries, smokers spend great sums of money in proportion to their incomes that could otherwise be spent on food, healthcare and other necessities.

Burden Shift to the World's Poorest Countries

The Tobacco Atlas crystallizes an undeniable trend: the tobacco industry has shifted its marketing and sales efforts to countries that have less effective public health policies and fewer resources in place:

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Contact: Andrew Becker
andrew.becker@cancer.org
212-237-3899
American Cancer Society
Source:Eurekalert

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