Tobacco use causes more than 6 million deaths per year worldwide, a number that is expected to rise to more than 8 million by 2030, and most of which will be occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Smoking is the leading cause of lung disease: smoking causes chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) (including emphysema and chronic bronchitis) and most cases of lung cancer; smokers are about 12 times more likely to die from COPD than non-smokers and 25 times more likely to develop lung cancer.
To study the impact of tobacco prices on smoking onset, smoking cessation, and tobacco consumption in Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, South Africa, and Vietnam. The effects of both tax and retail price will be further analysed according to their effect by socioeconomic status, sex, and age with simulations to determine the ultimate impacts on tax revenue, tobacco use, and health outcomes. Additionally, the impact of cigarette packaging, including plain packaging, and major recent country-specific policy changes will be analysed. There is overwhelming evidence that higher cigarette prices reduce tobacco use with greater reductions among young people and those from more socioeconomically disadvantaged groups. The tobacco industry, however, asserts that tobacco taxes harm vulnerable populations and lead to increased consumption of illicit cigarettes and that packaging policies are ineffective. Evidence generated by this research will be used to address these claims with the aim of influencing tax policy and tobacco product labelling practices in low- and middle-income countries with the goal of ultimately preventing ill health and deaths caused by tobacco consumption.