WASHINGTON – Smoking costs the global economy more than $1 trillion a year, and will kill 2 million more people by 2030, according to a study by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Cancer Institute published on Tuesday.
“The number of tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from about 6 million deaths annually to about 8 million annually by 2030, with more than 80 percent of these occurring in LMICs [low- and middle-income countries],” the study said.
About 80 percent of smokers live in such countries, and although smoking prevalence was falling among the global population, the total number of smokers worldwide is rising, according to the study.
Health experts say tobacco use is the single biggest preventable cause of death globally.
“It is responsible for … likely over $1 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity each year,” said the study, which was peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientists.
“Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence,” the study said. “The science is clear; the time for action is now.”