Webinar 1: The economic and social impact of tobacco

Webinar 1: The economic and social impact of tobacco
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  • DAY: Thursday - June 3rd
  • TIME: 11:00 am EDT [check Here the time correspondence]
  • DURATION: 120 minutes


Tobacco is one of the main health threats in the world and the main risk factor for noncommu-nicable diseases (NCDs), which include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases. It causes the death of more than 1 million people a year in the Region of the Americas. In addition to such health consequences, tobacco use causes a considerable economic burden. In 2012, global health expenditures to treat diseases attributable to tobacco use amounted to about 6% of global health expenditures. Furthermore, tobacco use can reduce productivity by permanently or temporarily withdrawing people from the labor market due to poor health. When people die prematurely, the labor productivity of their economically active years is lost. Additionally, people in poor health are more likely to miss days of work (absenteeism) or to work with reduced ability while at work (presenteeism).

Tobacco use can crowd out household spending on basic needs, including food and education, contributing to poverty and hunger. Furthermore, it imposes disproportionate health and socio-economic costs on the poor, women, youths, and other vulnerable populations. At the same time, tobacco production causes environmental damage, in particular soil degradation, water pollution and deforestation. Given the great development challenges posed by tobacco, its effective control requires the participation of non-health sectors in the context of a government-wide approach.

The 2030 Agenda recognizes that current tobacco use trends around the world are incompatible with sustainable development. Through target 3 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Member States commit to achieve a reduction of one third in premature mortality from non-communicable diseases (i.e. deaths between the ages of 30 and 70) by 2030. Accelerating progress on noncommunicable diseases requires strengthened implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (SDG target 3a). Tobacco control is not only a primary means of improving the health of the population, but also a proven approach to reducing poverty and inequalities, foster economic growth, and promoting overall sustainable development.


About Webinar 1

Objectives of the session:

  • Present how tobacco affects the economy, poverty, the environment and society as a whole.
  • Provide economic arguments to promote coherence of intersectoral policies on tobacco control.
  • Present recent regional data and evidence on the economic and social impact of tobacco use.
  • Discuss how to convert knowledge about the economic and social impact of tobacco use into actions to strengthen tobacco control.



Important session resources: