Global Tobacco Control Updates
A new report released today by the Human Development Research Center and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids details the alarming health epidemic and economic burden of tobacco use in Bangladesh. Titled “The Economics of Tobacco and Tobacco Taxation in Bangladesh,” the report highlights the growing tobacco crisis in Bangladesh, a country with one of the highest rates of tobacco consumption in the world.
Bangladesh is home to more than 46 million smokers, approximately 43 percent of the population. Each year tobacco use kills 57,000 Bangaldeshis – about one in six of all deaths among people 30 years and older.
According to the report, cigarette prices in Bangladesh are among the lowest in the world and cigarettes have become more affordable in recent years as peoples’ income increased. The price of bidis – cheap, hand-rolled cigarettes found in South Asia - is even lower, making the deadly product readily available to low-income and youth consumers.
Taxing all cigarette brands at 70 percent of the retail price could lead nearly 7 million current smokers to quit and prevent 7 million youth from starting to smoke, according to the study. The results would be a dramatic improvement for public health and government coffers, preventing 6 million premature deaths and raising additional excise revenues of 15.1 billion taka (200 million USD). Additionally, a 40 percent tax on bidis would generate an additional 7.2 billion taka (87.5 million USD) and save 2.5 million Bangladeshis from premature death.
The study provides a clear way for Bangladesh to protect the health of its citizens through a strong increase in tobacco taxes. Higher tobacco taxes prevent youth from starting to smoke, help low-income populations quit and are the single most effective way to reduce tobacco use and save lives