WHO urges governments to raise tobacco taxes

Governments around the world should increase taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products to save lives and generate funds for stronger health services, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

In its latest annual report, entitled The Global Tobacco Epidemic 2015, the United Nations health agency said that too few governments make full use of tobacco taxes to dissuade people from smoking or help them to cut down and quit.

It recommends that at least 75 percent of the price of a pack of cigarettes should be tax.

The WHO calculates that one person dies from tobacco-related disease every six seconds or so, equivalent to about 6 million people a year.

The number is forecast to rise to more than 8 million people a year by 2030 unless strong measures are taken.

There are a billion smokers worldwide, but many countries have extremely low tobacco tax rates and some have no special tobacco taxes at all, the WHO said.