WHO says high tobacco taxes are the best way to cut tobacco use but few nations wield the tool

A World Health Organization report says taxing cigarettes to more than 75 percent of their retail price is the most effective way to reduce tobacco use, but that too few governments levy high enough taxes.

The WHO's 2015 report on the global tobacco epidemic, released in Manila on Tuesday, says more than half of the world's countries, encompassing about 2.8 billion people, have implemented at least one of six sets of agreed-upon tobacco-control policies. But it says many nations continue to have very low tobacco tax rates or no taxes at all.

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The report and officials say tobacco taxation could be a key source of funding to implement health and development goals.

The WHO says around 6 million people die each year from tobacco-related diseases.