WHO Estimates Global Burden Cost of Smoking

Tobacco-related diseases caused 12% of deaths among smokers aged 30 to 69 in 2012
Tobacco-related diseases caused 12% of deaths among smokers aged 30 to 69 in 2012

HealthDay News — Nearly 6% of the world's health care spending is tied to smoking, according to research published online January 30 in Tobacco Control.

Mark Goodchild, of the World Health Organization, led the analysis of data from 152 countries, representing 97% of the world's smokers. The researchers considered direct costs – such as medical treatment – as well as indirect ones – such as lost productivity and disability – to estimate the overall cost of smoking. To make that estimate, the investigators reviewed 33 studies of direct costs along with data from the WHO and the World Bank. 

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The investigators reported that in 2012, smoking-related diseases caused 12% of deaths among adults aged 30 to 69, with the highest proportion in Europe and the Americas. That included 1.4 million people who would have been working. The researchers traced nearly 40% of the global economic toll to low- and middle-income countries. Of those, Brazil, China, India, and Russia accounted for one-quarter of all smoking-related costs. The calculations did not include the health and economic harms caused by secondhand smoke or smokeless forms of tobacco.

"These findings highlight the urgent need for all countries to implement comprehensive tobacco-control measures to address these economic costs, while also helping to achieve the sustainable development goals of the member states," the authors write.

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