UN Sustainable Development Goals Set to Include Tobacco Tax

Members of the United Nations (UN) have agreed that taxes on tobacco not only have the ability to reduce consumption and health care costs, but also “represent a revenue stream for financing for development in many countries,” according to a recent report from the Action on Smoking and Health.

UN members met in Ethiopia for the Financing for Development conference to discuss how best to fund the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which act as a guide for governments over the next 15 years and will be adopted in September 2015 and go into effect in January 2016. The SDGs include targets for non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and for the implementation the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

World leaders at the Financing for Development conference determined that a tobacco tax policy is one viable way to finance development in many countries. This is a monumental victory as tobacco use is one of the nine health targets championed by member states of the WHO in 2012 to combat NCDs worldwide.

“The decline in smoking has played a large role in the dramatic reduction of heart disease in the United States over the last 30 years,” states ACC President Kim Allan Williams, Sr., MD, FACC. “According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nonsmokers exposed to secondhand smoke at home or work increase their risk of heart disease by 25 to 30 percent. A 2012 study by the Mayo Clinic found heart attack rates fell 33 percent following the implementation of an indoor smoking ban in one U.S. county. To translate this success to the global stage, we must continue to curb tobacco use around the world. The ACC supports all efforts to reduce the use of tobacco to move closer to eliminating heart disease and other tobacco-related health issues worldwide.”

In 2012, the ACC officially adopted the target of a 25 percent global reduction of pre-mature deaths from NCDs by the year 2025 as an organizational goal. The ACC plans to leverage its 50,000 global members and 34 International Chapters to ensure success. For more information, or to get involved in these continuing efforts to reduce the growing global burden of NCDs, contact International@ACC.org.

Clinical Topics: Prevention, Smoking

Keywords: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S., Cost of Illness, Financial Management, Government, Health Care Costs, Heart Diseases, Organizational Objectives, Smoking, Taxes, Tobacco, Tobacco Smoke Pollution, United Nations, World Health Organization

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