A rise in prices by even just 1 percent reduces smoking. A 30 years old study into the relationship between tobacco product pricing and consumption found that increasing the cost of cigarettes, even just marginally, helped reduce number of people who smoke. The results, from the Medical University of Vienna, have now been published to bolster World No Smoking Day on May 31 and to show that in today’s market, a 1 percent increase in price would mean a nearly 0,7 percent decrease in consumption. This means that tobacco sales would drop by 3,5 percent if tobacco prices increased by 5 percent, a level that social medicine expert Michael Kunze believes realistic. “A 5 percent price increase is a level that is acceptable to all parties, to us doctors, because a lot of people would give up smoking. But also to tobacconists and the Finance Ministry, because revenues and taxes would still yield a reasonable surplus” Kunze told. Kunze believes that 5 percent is the perfect middle ground because it would not encourage the illegal trade of cigarettes from neighboring countries. Illegal sales would only happen if tobacco prices were to suddenly increase it dramatically. The efforts would also be stronger if Austria’s neighbors raised their prices by same amount to make illegal trafficking less appealing. Tobacco consumption is the biggest cause of illness and premature death in Europe, about 90 percent of lung cancer deaths and 75 percent of chronic bronchitis deaths are caused by smoking. But there are almost immediate positive effects on the body after one quits. “Even just a few days after the last cigarette, your risk of cardiovascular disease falls rapidly. Smoking is almost the same as carbon monoxide poisoning so, if you stop, you stop poisoning yourself” Kunze said.

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