New Delhi: The World Health Organisation (WHO) Wednesday asked governments to raise taxes on tobacco products to curb their consumption.
"Research shows that higher taxes are especially effective in reducing tobacco use among lower-income groups and in preventing young people from starting to smoke.
"A tax increase that increases tobacco prices by 10 percent decreases tobacco consumption by about four percent in high-income countries and by up to eight percent in most low and middle-income countries," the WHO said in a release.
Under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), countries should implement tax and price policies on tobacco products as a way to reduce consumption.
The WHO said increasing excise tax on tobacco is considered to be the most cost-effective tobacco control measure.
The World Health Report 2010 indicated that a 50-percent increase in tobacco excise tax would generate a little more than $1.4 billion in additional funds in 22 low-income countries.
If allocated to health, government health spending in these countries could increase by up to 50 percent.
The global tobacco epidemic kills nearly six million people each year, of which more than 600,000 are non-smokers dying from breathing second-hand smoke.
It said the epidemic will kill more than eight million people every year by 2030.
More than 80 percent of these preventable deaths will be among people living in low-and middle-income countries.