eISSN: 2450-5722
ISSN: 2450-5927
Journal of Health Inequalities
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vol. 3
Special paper

Tobacco control: an investment that leads to global development

Michał Stokłosa

American Cancer Society, Atlanta, GA, USA
J Health Inequal 2017; 3 (1): 27–29
Online publish date: 2017/06/30
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When a nation goes from poverty to prosperity, it makes the world stronger and a better place for everybody, because history demonstrates that shared prosperity tends to beget both peace and more prosperity. With the aim of maintaining and accelerating the world’s progress in achieving sustainable development, on September 25th, 2015 the 194 countries of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Agenda outlines 17 Sustainable Development Goals and the associated 169 targets necessary for creating a thriving global society. These goals and targets were carefully selected based on the vast, existing body of research evidence. Achieving these targets is a prerequisite for overcoming the threats that could undermine the prosperity of all people and for improving the welfare of current and future generations [1].
One of the key goals adopted by the UN is to ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all people of all ages. Making health one of the pillars of sustainable development seems natural, since most people see their health as an important component of their well-being. Few people, however, fully realize the extent to which achieving greatly improved world development is dependent upon meeting the health-related targets. First, both health and the economy are equally important in serving society. As noted by Angus Deaton, the 2015 Nobel laureate in Economic Sciences: “Health is the obvious starting point for an enquiry into wellbeing. You need a life to have a good life” [2]. Put simply, the world’s development cannot be measured by economic indicators alone, without any regard to health, because people cannot enjoy the benefits of economic prosperity if they are dead. Many organizations have already realized the importance of health indicators in measuring the world’s progress. For example, the UN regularly publishes the Human Development Index, a score intended to rank countries’ development based not only on their gross domestic product (GDP), but also on the length and quality of health of the lives of citizens of those countries [3].
Further, because health improvements and economic growth are strongly interrelated, we cannot view health solely as a matter of individual well-being, but must also consider it as a critical matter in the world’s economic prosperity. A seminal study published in the leading health journal “The Lancet” found that there is an enormous payoff...

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