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Exempt Tobacco Products from Trade Agreements and Tax Them More, Report Urges

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Exempting tobacco products from global trade agreements, and imposing higher taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products, can help reduce the incidence of cancer, according to a report by cancer experts.

The findings come from an international meeting of cancer organizations. The report concludes smoking and other forms of tobacco use are the main cause of a growing burden of cancer around the world, according to Reuters.

“Governments play a critical role in the adoption of measures that can prevent cancer, and we urge them to recognize the health of their citizens as a more important priority than global trade agreements or the national economic benefits of tobacco farming and trade,” the experts write in the report, published in Science Translational Medicine.

“Governments can also act preemptively to ensure that tobacco use does not rise among those populations with currently low rates of use—such as women in countries with cultural or religious prohibitions against smoking and people living in Sub-Saharan Africa—by protecting them from expected efforts by the tobacco industry to expand into new markets,” the report states.

Other strategies to reduce cancer from tobacco use should include convincing health professionals to smoke less, and making smoking appear less glamorous and socially acceptable, the report recommended.

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