Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Finance Need to Know

Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Finance Need to Know

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Tobacco Control: What Ministries of Finance Need to Know

February 5, 2024

Tobacco kills 8.7 million people every year, including up to half its users in addition to non-users exposed to deadly second-hand smoke. The burden of tobacco reaches far beyond health, weakening the economy, disrupting social systems and damaging the environment. Low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) bear a greater portion of the global burden, with over 80% of tobacco users living in LMICs. 

Without adequate investment in tobacco control it is estimated that up to 1 billion people could die from tobacco-related diseases during this century alone.

Urgent and whole-of government action is needed to tackle the tobacco burden, calling for a response from all government sectors. This brief is part of a set of 13 provided by UNDP that map out roles and first steps different parts of government can take to help achieve the SDGs by reducing tobacco use.

Ministries of finance can take key steps to advance tobacco control and accelerate progress towards the SDGs. This includes regularly increasing taxes to reduce the affordability of tobacco products, ensuring the participation of the ministry in tobacco control multisectoral action plans and coordinating mechanisms, and promoting policy coherence. Ministries of finance also stand to benefit from tobacco control – tobacco taxes are inexpensive to implement and generate revenue while also improving population health and reducing health inequities.