Health, economic and social burden of tobacco in Latin America and the expected gains of fully implementing taxes, plain packaging, advertising bans and smoke-free environments control measures: a modelling study
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  • Published on:
    “Harm reduction” as a complimentary tool for tobacco cessation in Latin America – a call for action.
    • Enrique Teran, Professor Colegio de Ciencias de la Salud, Universidad San Francisco de Quito. Quito, Ecuador

    Pichon-Riviere et al concluded that the four tobacco control interventions analyzed could successfully avert deaths and disability and significantly ease the tobacco-attributable economic burden, but are not enough, as smoking remains a leading cause of health and economic burden in Latin America (1). According to the Global Burden of Disease Project (2), regardless of the relative decrease in tobacco prevalence in the last decades, age-standardized rates of deaths and DALYs for smoking-attributable diseases remain high in Latin America, a region hard hit by the epidemic (3). Unfortunately, in most of the countries in Latin America, there are other problems related to the main strategy to reduce tobacco consumption (i.e., taxation falls short of WHO recommendations) for example cigarettes remain affordable mainly due to the commercialization of illegal tobacco products and smuggled cigarettes, an important distractor for public health authorities, as the real number of users is hidden, access for younger people is easier and health risks are surely higher (4).
    In addition, as in not all countries among our region there are available pharmacological alternatives to help current smokers, cessation strategies may be adapted for novel products, and treatment recommendations for tobacco use disorder should be made within the context of a harm reduction framework wherein alternative product use may be the desired outcome (5). Also, nicotine e‐cigare...

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    Conflict of Interest:
    None declared.