Last Tuesday on January the 10th, the U.S. National Cancer Institute released a study in collaboration with The World Health Organization (WHO), which found that smoking costs the global economy over a trillion dollars per year. Additionally the report also concluded that by 2030 smoking related deaths will rise from six to eight million per annum.
An article published last week on The Washington Post pointed out that these financial losses exceed the revenue obtained by tobacco taxes, which between 2013 and 2014 was calculated to be $269 billion, and out of which less than $1 billion was invested in tobacco control. This study pointed out once again the magnitude of the smoking epidemic and how if not tackled, this will escalate further not only in terms of health but also economically.
“The tobacco industry produces and markets products that kill millions of people prematurely, rob households of finances that could have been used for food and education, and impose immense health care costs on families, communities and countries,” said WHO’s assistant director-general for noncommunicable diseases and mental health, Oleg Chestnov.
A viable solution being ignored
However many health and anti-tobacco experts might argue that the WHO is also stubbornly refusing to consider an alternative which has been proven successful in helping millions quit, electronic cigarettes.
Naturally this information was presented to the WHO, however the organization not only is not changing it’s forbidding stance with regards to the products, but also keeps suggesting that authorities should implement stricter regulations with regards to the products, putting them in the same line as their combustible counterparts.
Irish study about cost effectiveness of e-cigs
Coincidently only two weeks ago, a report hailing from Ireland published by HIQA, the Irish Health Information and Quality Authority, examined the cost effectiveness of electronic cigarettes and found that smokers using the products for smoking cessation have a better chance of quitting completely, and confirmed that they would indeed eliminate many of the costs brought about by the deadly habit.
“Hiqa’s analysis shows that increased uptake of e-cigarettes as an aid to quitting would increase the number of people who successfully quit compared with the existing situation in Ireland, and would be cost-effective provided that the currently available evidence on their effectiveness is confirmed by further studies.” read the report.
A change in perspective that could save the world
The data proving the benefits of switching from tobacco to electronic cigarettes and how the latter could be part of the solution to the serious problem the world is facing, is becoming undeniable. Hopefully in the near future influential organizations such as the WHO and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), will choose to seriously consider the evidence being presented to them by a multitude of scientific sources, so that hopefully information about the efficacy of these products as cessation tools can be available to all.