RIO DE JANEIRO, May 31 (Xinhua) -- The consumption of cigarettes and other tobacco-related products caused a loss of 56.9 billion reals (17.6 billion U.S. dollars) to the Brazilian economy in 2015, Brazil's National Cancer Institute (INCA) said in a study on Wednesday.
The release of the study, which marks the World Health Organization's World No Tobacco Day, showed figures that are the results of a comprehensive study carried out in a partnership between INCA, the Oswaldo Cruz Foundation and the University of Buenos Aires, in Argentina.
As direct medical costs, 39.4 billion reals (12.2 billion dollars) paid by the public healthcare system was to treat Brazilians suffering tobacco-related diseases.
Other indirect costs amount to 17.5 billion reals (5.4 billion dollars), originating from productivity loss, due to thousands of premature deaths and incapacitation of workers caused by those diseases.
Brazil is the second largest tobacco producer and leading exporter in the world. While the study proved that the industry's revenue to the Brazilian economy is nowhere near the costs the tobacco consumption in Brazil.
In addition to severe economic losses, cigarettes are also responsible for a high loss of lives in the country.
Over the past years, Brazil took several actions to curb tobacco's advance in the country, such as increasing taxes over cigarettes, severely restricting publicity of cigarettes and offering free treatment to stop smoking in clinics all over the country.
Continuous campaigns and restrictive legislation resulted in a drastic fall in the prevalence of smokers, but there are still over 20 million smokers in Brazil. The impact of tobacco is still significant.
"Given the enormous losses that tobacco causes to the nation, it is necessary to seek compensation mechanisms to both cover the cost of treating tobacco-related diseases and preventing those diseases," said Tania Cavalcante, executive secretary of the Commission for the Implementation of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.