Director-General (DG) of the World Health Organisation (WHO), Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus urged upon the member states to increase taxes on tobacco products to curb their use.
His remarks came while addressing the participants at the meeting of the parties to the protocol to eliminate illicit trade in tobacco products, which is being held virtually due to the COVID pandemic.
“The protocol is another vital tool for realising the vision of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC),” he said.
“While we still have some way to go before we end the pandemic, tobacco control measures must be part of the recovery, particularly increases in tobacco taxes,” Dr Ghebreyesus added while referring to the COVID pandemic.
“If tobacco was a virus, it would long ago have been called a pandemic, and the world would marshal every resource to stop it,” WHO DG said.
“But instead, it’s a multi-billion dollar business that profits from death and disease, imposes huge costs on health systems, and takes a massive economic toll in lost productivity”, he added.
According to the WHO estimates, eliminating illicit trade in tobacco globally can reduce its use by 2% while increasing the tax income by 11% globally and has the potential to generate 47 billion US dollars in taxes globally.
Currently, there are 182 Parties covering more than 90% of the world population.