Objective Pending a comprehensive study of tobacco economics in Saudi Arabia, our aim was to estimate the economic costs of tobacco consumption in Saudi Arabia over a period of 10 years (2001–2010).
Methods Pertinent data on imported tobacco were obtained from the Saudi Customs Authority through the Central Department of Statistics and Information. Mortality was calculated using the following parameters: 1 ton of tobacco consumed causes an average of 0.65 premature deaths, and the net loss was calculated as US$47.6 million (2011 US$ prices) for every 1000 tons of tobacco consumed. This represented the net cost of premature deaths and the direct and indirect costs of morbidity.
Results Using 2011 prices, the economic loss due to tobacco was US$20.5 billion over the last 10 years, without accounting for smuggled (illegally imported) tobacco. If the smuggling rate was 10% or 25%, the economic loss would be 22.6 or 25.6 billion US$, respectively. There were 280 000 premature deaths during the same period without accounting for smuggled tobacco.
Conclusions In Saudi Arabia, short-term and long-term economic gains will result from reductions in tobacco use.
- Global health
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