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The initiative funds innovative fiscal policy research supporting tobacco control in low and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Aimed at preventing tobacco-related diseases and promoting public health, this is a five-year partnership between IDRC and the world’s leading independent cancer charity dedicated to saving lives through research, Cancer Research UK.

The challenge

Tobacco use remains the leading cause of preventable death and disability worldwide, causing more than 7 million deaths each year. More than 80% of deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs) occur in LMICs, with significant consequences for individuals, families, and national economies.

Fiscal policies for tobacco control are widely recognized to be the most effective measures to curb tobacco consumption and prevent tobacco related diseases, while reducing household poverty and increasing national revenues. Nevertheless, most LMICs have not effectively implemented such policies.

Among the most common reasons not to act is fear that action on tobacco will cause economic harm to governments, businesses, farmers, and poor families. This is particularly the case with fears surrounding tobacco taxation.

There is a great need for locally owned and country-level economic evidence that stands up to scrutiny, informs the public, and motivates policymakers. Local evidence also provides the context-specific information and tools that are needed to design policies and shape practice to equitably improve public health.

In order to generate such evidence, to have it heard and understood, and to enable policy action, IDRC and Cancer Research UK have launched an ambitious partnership, The Economics of Tobacco Control Research Initiative.

The initiative

Through the Economics of Tobacco Control Research Initiative, IDRC and Cancer Research UK aim to address the health and development challenges posed by tobacco use in LMICs.

By supporting collaborative research that provides the economic rationale for tobacco control in LMICs, the Initiative will encourage and help disseminate the robust local evidence acutely needed to better inform and implement solutions for effective tobacco control.

The applied nature of the research supported by this Initiative is intended to help inform and influence tobacco-control policy measures in the near and medium-term, helping countries make strides towards meeting SDGs related to global health and economic empowerment.


The Call for Concept Notes on the Economics of Tobacco Control in Low and Middle-Income Countries offers up to CA$1 million over a maximum of four years to support evidence-based research on the economic rationale for the adoption of tobacco-control policies across LMICs in four regions: Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, and sub-Saharan Africa.

Targeting collaborative, applied economics research, the Initiative aims to support the implementation of effective fiscal and other policy measures to help prevent tobacco-related diseases and save lives.

Explore research projects that we support.


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