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Anti-Smoking Policies Could Prevent Millions Of Premature Deaths, WHO Study Says

“Anti-smoking measures including higher taxes on tobacco products, bans on adverts and controls on lighting up in public places could prevent tens of millions of premature deaths across the world, researchers said on Monday,” Reuters reports. “Similar steps taken by Turkey, Romania and 39 other countries between 2007 and 2010 were already saving lives, the independent study published by the [WHO] said,” the news service adds (Nebehay, 7/1). “Scientists looked at the effects of six anti-smoking policies introduced in 41 countries … between 2007 and 2010,” the Press Association/Huffington Post U.K.’s “Lifestyle” blog writes, noting, “Projections of the number of premature deaths the measures were likely to prevent by 2050 produced a figure of 7.4 million” (7/1). “Douglas Bettcher, director of the department of non-communicable diseases at the [WHO], added that wider implementation of these anti-smoking measures would allow the prevention of millions more smoking-related deaths,” according to HealthDay News/U.S. News & World Report (7/1).

The policies examined include “monitoring tobacco use, protecting people from tobacco smoke, warning about the dangers of tobacco, enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, and raising tobacco taxes,” the Australian Associated Press adds (7/1). “The report found that raising tobacco taxes and enforcing smoking-related air quality controls (such as public smoking bans) were the most effective anti-smoking measures by far,” according to Think Progress (Mukherjee, 7/1). “Increasing taxes on cigarettes to 75 percent of their price in 14 regions had the biggest impact, which was greater than legal smoking bans,” the Associated Press/Herald Sun notes, adding, “Tax rises prevented 3.5 million smoking-related deaths while ‘smoke-free air laws’ in 20 of the countries studied averted 2.5 million” (7/2).