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editorial

US should embrace efforts to combat smoking overseas

Smoking may be the world’s greatest global health threat. It kills nearly 6 million people a year around the world — more than HIV, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. The United States has done an admirable job of combating this threat within its own borders. But Washington has done embarrassingly little to address the problem overseas.

The US government spends about $8 billion on global health annually, but only about $7 million on tobacco-control efforts overseas, according to Thomas Bollyky of the Council on Foreign Relations. That’s a tiny amount, given the gravity of the problem and the cost-effectiveness of anti-smoking campaigns.

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