“The number of tobacco-related deaths is projected to increase from about 6 million deaths annually to about 8 million annually by 2030, with more than 80 per cent of these occurring in LMICs (low- and middle-income countries),” the study said.
Health experts say tobacco use is the single biggest preventable cause of death globally.
“It is responsible for... likely over $1 trillion in health care costs and lost productivity each year,” said the study, peer-reviewed by more than 70 scientific experts.
“Government fears that tobacco control will have an adverse economic impact are not justified by the evidence. The science is clear; the time for action is now.”
Nigeria is one of the three largest tobacco markets in Africa, others being Egypt and South Africa. Tobacco sales in Nigeria have continued for long with profits of the Nigerian tobacco companies increasing year on year. A 2012 WHO report estimated that Nigeria has a population of almost 13 million smokers, and 18 billion cigarettes are sold each year at a value of about N185 billion.
How to quit
Cheap and effective policies included hiking tobacco taxes and prices, comprehensive smoke-free policies, complete bans on tobacco company marketing, and prominent pictorial warning labels.
Tobacco taxes could also be used to fund more expensive interventions such as anti-tobacco mass media campaigns and support for cessation services and treatments, it said.
Governments spent less than $1 billion on tobacco control in 2013-2014, according to a WHO estimate.