Objective To examine the impact of a 50% increase in market prices of cigarettes on health, poverty, and financial protection. Design Compartmental model study. Setting 13 middle income countries, totalling two billion men. Participants 500 million male smokers. Main outcome measures Life years gained, averted treatment costs, number of men avoiding catastrophic healthcare expenditures and poverty, and additional tax revenue by income group. Results A 50% increase in cigarette prices would lead to about 450 million years of life gained across the 13 countries from smoking cessation, with half of these in China. Across all countries, men in the bottom income group (poorest 20% of the population) would gain 6.7 times more life years than men in the top income group (richest 20% of the population; 155 v 23 million). The average life years gained from cessation for each smoker in the bottom income group was 5.1 times that of the top group (1.46 v 0.23 years). Of the $157bn (£113bn; €127bn) in averted treatment costs, the bottom income group would avert 4.6 times more costs than the top income group ($46bn v $10bn). About 15.5 million men would avoid catastrophic health expenditures in a subset of seven countries without universal health coverage. As result, 8.8 million men, half of them in the bottom income group, would avoid falling below the World Bank definition of extreme poverty. These 8.8 million men constitute 2.4% of people living in extreme poverty in these countries. In contrast, the top income group would pay twice as much as the bottom income group of the $122bn additional tax collected. Overall, the bottom income group would get 31% of the life years saved and 29% each of the averted disease costs and averted catastrophic health expenditures, while paying only 10% of the additional taxes. Conclusions Higher prices of cigarettes provide more health and financial gains to the poorest 20% than to the richest 20% of the population. Higher excise taxes support the targets of the sustainable development goals on non-communicable diseases and poverty, and provides financial protection against illness.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding: This study was supported by the Fogarty International Center of the US National Institutes of Health (grant R01 TW05991-01), Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Canadian Institute of Health Research (FDN 154277), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and the International Development Research Centre. PJ is supported by the Canada Research Chairs Program and the University of Toronto. The World Bank Group’s Global Tobacco Control Program is supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Bloomberg Philanthropies. The opinions expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the respective governments, Asian Development Bank, World Bank, or the study sponsors. The sponsors of the study had no role in the study design, data collection, data analysis, data interpretation, or writing of the manuscript. The corresponding author had full access to all the data in the study and had final responsibility for the decision to submit for publication.