Tobacco-related illnesses cost over 100 lives lost every year in Cabo Verde, as well as CVE 1.62 billion (approximately USD 16 million) to the national economy every year, equivalent to 1.1% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). These costs are due to health care expenditures and ‘hidden’ productivity losses from premature mortality, disabilities and smoking breaks.
These data was revealed by a new study launched today that looks at the health and economic costs of tobacco use in Cabo Verde. During the launching, the Minister of Health and Social Security, Arlindo do Rosário, acknowledged the strategic partnership that had as a result the publication of the Cabo Verde WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Investment Case.
“This study shows the large economic impact of tobacco consumption and all the costs that involves if no action is taken. It is urgent to tackle it and promote free-smoke policies to fight Non Communicable Diseases in Cabo Verde. We have clear strategies to defeat tobacco and I call on all of you to join this cause”, concluded the Minister.
Likewise, the State Secretary of Finance, Gilberto Barros, conveyed the engagement of the Ministry of Finance in tobacco control measures, including the recent increase of taxes implemented earlier this year. “We fully endorse the intersectorial mechanism for tobacco control and we strongly support the Ministry of Health and Social Security to propose a new tobacco law that contributes to the improvement of the living conditions of all cabo-verdeans”, highlighted.
Other than the health and economic costs of tobacco use, the study also estimates the potential health and economic gains from scaled up implementation of evidence-based tobacco control measures. Scaling up tobacco control measures will save nearly 600 lives and avert CVE 6.9 billion (approximately USD 70 million) in health costs and economic losses by 2033. The return on investment is also significant where for every escudo (national money) invested in tobacco control today, Cabo Verde will receive CVE 8 in economic returns by 2033.
The Officer in Charge (OIC) of the World Health Organization (WHO) office in Cabo Verde, Tomas Valdez, noted that this research in an opportunity to reflect on the impact of the public policies choices in the Health sector. “The potential social and economic gains showcased by this study are a crucial incentive for decision makers and health workers to reinforce their engagement to fight tobacco nationwide; tobacco is a social and economic burden”, highlighted.
“For WHO smoking is truly global epidemy that causes over 8 million deaths worldwide and if this tendency continues, it is stimated that tobacco will be responsible for over 1 billion casualties in globally in the current century. These figures appeals to urgent and coordinated action agains tobacco”, defended the OIC.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) country representative, Boubou Camara, underscored the engagement of his organization to support the sustainable development of Cabo Verde, including an intersectorial mechanism to coordinate the fight against tobacco and the implementation of a law that guarantee a sustainable future for the country. “Cabo Verde is loosing lives of productive people due to tobacco, with the subsequent financial consequences and their impact to the public health system, and UNDP will be a reliable partner to support the national strategy for tobacco control” added the UNDP Representative.
The findings of the Cabo Verde FCTC Investment Case were presented by a United Nations-led international team, comprised of the Secretariatof the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the World Health Organization (WHO), and RTI International. The study was conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Health and Social Security. During the ceremony, the study was officially delivered to the Government of Cabo Verde.
As a Party to the world’s tobacco control international treaty – the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), Cabo Verde has taken important steps to reduce tobacco use, including the enactment of several laws regulating tobacco.
“While we have seen Cabo Verde make great strides in tobacco control, more can still be done to protect the people from the harms of tobacco. We encourage all government ministries in Cabo Verde to support the full implementation of the WHO FCTC to advance health and sustainable development” said Rodrigo Santos Feijo, Technical Officer, Development Assistance with the WHO FCTC Secretariat.
Participants of the event included officials from all ministries involved, academia, civil society, UN agencies, local governments and NGOs. The WHO Regional Office for Africa was also represented by the Coordinator of Noncommunicable Diseases Primary Prevention, Jean-Marie Dangou.
The investment case was conducted as part of the FCTC 2030 project, generously funded by the Governments of the United Kingdom and Australia.