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Health Highlights: July 7, 2015

More Countries Need to Place High Taxes on Tobacco: WHO Stella & Chewy's Pet Products Recalled

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

More Countries Need to Place High Taxes on Tobacco: WHO

Too few countries impose high taxes on cigarettes, even though it's a highly effective way to discourage tobacco use, a World Health Organization report says.

The agency said placing a tax of up to 75 percent on the retail price of cigarettes is one of the best ways to reduce tobacco consumption, but many nations have very low tobacco tax rates or no taxes at all, The New York Times reported.

Tobacco taxes could offer an important source of funding for health and development projects, according to the WHO report released Tuesday.

"Raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective -- and cost-effective -- ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue," WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said in a statement, The Times reported.

"I encourage all governments to look at the evidence, not the industry's arguments, and adopt one of the best win-win policy options available for health," Chan added.

The WHO report also said that more than half of the world's countries -- with about 2.8 billion people -- had implemented at least one of six sets of agreed-upon tobacco control polices. That's an increase from 2.3 billion people in 2013, The Times reported.

Each year, about 6 million people worldwide die from tobacco-related diseases, and the number is expected to rise to more than 8 million a year by 2030 unless strong anti-tobacco measures are implemented, the WHO said.


Stella & Chewy's Pet Products Recalled

A number of Stella & Chewy's pet food products are being recalled due to possible Listeria contamination.

A routine test found Listeria in a sample of the Milwaukee-based company's chicken freeze-dried dinner patties for dogs, the Associated Press reported.

Listeria can cause serious illness and even death in the elderly, the frail and children, and can trigger flu-like symptoms such as fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea in healthy people.

The company said there have been no reported cases of human or pet illnesses, according to the AP.

A complete list of the recalled products is available at Stella & Chewy's website.

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