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Rise In Risky Behavior Is Growing Threat To Health, World Bank Report Says

“Risky behavior — smoking, illegal drug use, excessive drinking, unhealthy eating and unsafe sex — is on the rise worldwide and poses a growing threat to health, particularly in poorer countries, according to a World Bank report,” The Guardian reports. “Smoking exacts a particularly high toll,” the newspaper writes, noting, “Nearly 80 percent of the 6.3 million deaths from smoking in 2010 occurred in middle- and low-income countries, says the Risking Your Health report.” The Guardian adds, “The report also notes fundamental differences in being able to change behavior relating to alcohol, tobacco and food” (Tran, 11/20).

“The report concludes that costs and spillovers associated with risky behaviors justify public interventions and that certain policy interventions, when done properly, can improve overall welfare,” a World Bank press release states. “Evidence suggests that legislation tends to be effective, especially when enforcement mechanisms are strong,” the press release notes, adding, “The report highlights that tax policies can be efficient mechanisms to prevent smoking and alcohol consumption” but that “[o]ther forms of interventions, such as information education and communications programs, have been less effective in changing behaviors” (11/20).