At What Cost? The Economic Impact of Tobacco Use on National Health Systems, Societies and Individuals : A Summary of Methods and Findings

By The World Bank | Go to book overview

Chapter 2:
Economic Studies and Tobacco
Control Policy Development

2.1 Introduction

Tobacco’s adverse consequences impose serious economic costs on society. Research into the economic burden of tobacco use provides important information that can be used to inform political debate and raise public awareness (2). This chapter outlines the role of economic studies in tobacco control policy development, provides an overview of the most important methods used by economists, and describes the relative advantages and disadvantages of each methodology.

“Real changes in society can be made only when the economic dimension of the issue in question is fully understood!’

Gro Harlem Bruntland, MD, Director General, World Health Organization (1)


2.2 The Role of Economic Studies in Tobacco
Control Policy Development

There are several ways that economic studies can contribute to tobacco control policy development.

First, economic studies can contribute to the development of effective tobacco control policies and the assessment of their impact. Economic studies can also aid in analyzing a variety of mechanisms to reduce the demand for and supply of tobacco, including assessing the costeffectiveness of tobacco control interventions. Since there is less research — and less consensus — on the cost-effectiveness of tobacco control interventions, particularly in the developing country context, this report will place particular emphasis on these issues.

Many governments in developing countries are reluctant to curtail tobacco production and use, as they enjoy significant revenues from excise taxes on cigarettes and the export of tobacco leaf (3). Macroeconomic and econometric tobacco studies analyze data related to the tobacco economy to develop effective tobacco control policies and assess their economic impact. Relevant data include trade (import and export) and agricultural production statistics for tobacco and tobacco products, and information

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