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.

Getty Images

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.

Video: Reynolds American, Lorillard deal up in smoke?

"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."