Looking for the Next Breakthrough in Tobacco Control and Health

The South African Medical Journal | November 2013

South African statistics on cigarette smoking suggest that there are grounds for some celebration on how rapidly consumption has fallen since the institution of anti-smoking policies started roughly 20 years ago.

As with other countries, tax policies that increased the cost of cigarettes will have played the greatest role in the reduction in smoking. These policies have also resulted in strong economic benefits, saving up to 1.5 million lives and put over US$12.5 billion into the economy.

The authors of this paper were both very involved in achieving these policies: in 1993, Derek Yach hosted the first national meeting to brief the African National Congress on the need for stronger taxes to address tobacco use, and in that meeting David Sweanor outlined the success taxes had already achieved in his home country of Canada.

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