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Q&A: The World Bank's Quiet Evolution on Tobacco Taxes (Devex)
October 11, 2017
From the article:
Tobacco taxes — when they are implemented with the express purpose of reducing the number of people who smoke — offer national governments an extremely effective policy tool for tackling negative health outcomes, William Savedoff, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Development who will also be in Wednesday’s meeting, told Devex.
Savedoff has pressed the international financial institutions to take a more proactive stance on tobacco taxes for years, and he is happy to see that the World Bank now seems to be taking that advice to heart. Devex spoke to Savedoff ahead of Wednesday’s meeting, where the bank will present a new paper it has produced, which argues for countries to make better use of this “underutilized” policy tool.
Savedoff described his early sense of awe at seeing the “knock-your-head-with-a-hammer” obvious association between smoking and health risks, and then the potential effectiveness tobacco taxes could have on mitigating those risks — especially among countries’ poorest populations.
Here’s an excerpt from our conversation with Savedoff, edited for clarity and length.