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World Health Organization seeks 50% hike in tobacco taxes

The World Health Organization on Tuesday called for a hike in tobacco taxes to encourage smokers to quit and nonsmokers from starting.

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Raising tobacco taxes by 50 percent would cut the number of smokers within the next three years by 49 million and save 11 million lives, according to WHO estimates.

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"Raising taxes on tobacco is the most effective way to reduce use and save lives," Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO's director-general, said in a statement. "Determined action on tobacco tax policy hits the industry where it hurts."