Smoking killed about 6 million people a year, and cost the world over $1 trillion a year in health care expenses and lost productivity, according to a new report.
However, higher tobacco prices could save millions of lives as also billions of dollars, the report from the World Health Organisation and the US National Cancer Institute said.
In addition to cutting the risk of cancer and heart disease, such tobacco-control policies could raise large amounts of money for governments to use for health and economic development, according to the study authors.
"The economic impact of tobacco on countries and the general public is huge, as this new report shows," said Dr Oleg Chestnov, HealthDay News reported. Chestrov is WHO's assistant director-general for non-communicable diseases and mental health.
"The tobacco industry produces and markets products that kill millions of people prematurely, rob households of finances that could have been used for food and education, and impose immense health care costs on families, communities and countries," Chestnov said in a WHO news release.
The report added that annual tax revenues from cigarettes could increase by 47 per cent, or $140 billion, if all countries raised excise taxes by about 80 cents per pack.
The report added that crop diversification in the world's top tobacco producers could lower rates in low-income countries, but infrastructure limitations and industry subsidies made it a difficult proposition to sell it to farmers.