January 10, 2017

Tobacco Control Strengthens Economies and Saves Lives

Tobacconomics team members played key roles as scientific editors, co-authors, and reviewers of a new report by the National Cancer Institute and the World Health Organization, which finds that tobacco control measures are highly cost-effective and do not harm economies. However, while progress is now being made in controlling the global tobacco epidemic, existing measures have not yet been used to their full potential. ‎

Tobacco use remains one of the world’s leading causes of preventable premature death, including death from cancer. Globally, there are about 1.1 billion tobacco smokers age 15 or older, and tobacco use burdens national economies with more than US$ 1 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity annually.

Fortunately, research has demonstrated that there are cost-effective tobacco control interventions that can reduce the burden of the tobacco epidemic. These include significant tobacco tax and price increases, comprehensive bans on tobacco industry marketing activities, prominent pictorial health warning labels, smoke-free policies, and population-wide tobacco cessation programs. Applying these most effective and cost-effective interventions would reduce demand for tobacco products and significantly reduce the prevalence of tobacco use and the resulting death, disease, and economic costs.

“The global scale of suffering, death, and disease from tobacco use is staggering. Millions of early deaths can be prevented if nations adopt evidence-based tobacco control policies,” said Robert Croyle, Ph.D., Director of the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.

The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Control provides the first comprehensive review of the economics of global tobacco control efforts since the 2003 adoption and 2005 entry into force of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. The monograph discusses the current evidence on the economics of global tobacco control efforts including tobacco use; tobacco growing, manufacturing, and trade; tobacco product taxes and prices; and tobacco control policies and other interventions to reduce tobacco use and its consequences. The monograph’s comprehensive summary of the existing scientific research emphasizes evidence from low- and middle-income countries.

Frank Chaloupka, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Economics at the University of Illinois at Chicago and the lead scientific editor for the monograph concludes, “the evidence is clear—effective tobacco control interventions make sense from an economic as well as a public health standpoint.”

Access the full monograph, the major conclusions, the executive summary, or individual chapters on the Tobacconomics website.


This monograph is the 21st volume in the series of monographs on tobacco control produced by the National Cancer Institute. This ambitious effort included contributions from more than 60 leaders in the field and was peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts. All NCI Tobacco Control Monographs are available at: http://cancercontrol.cancer.gov/brp/tcrb/monographs.