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Paper by Dr. Prabhat Jha is among highest ever scored by the New England Journal of Medicine, according to Altmetric tracking firm

Toronto, December 24, 2014

By Leslie Shepherd

Image of Dr. Gustavo Saposnik
Dr. Prabhat Jha

A research paper by Dr. Prabhat Jha showing that tripling taxes on cigarettes around the world would prevent 200 million premature deaths is one of the highest papers ever scored in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine, according to the Altmetric tracking firm.

The paper, published in the Jan. 3, 2014, issue of the magazine, said that such a large tax increase would double the street price of cigarettes in some countries and narrow the price gap between the cheapest and most expensive cigarettes, which would encourage people to stop smoking rather than switch to a cheaper brand and help young people not to start.

This would be especially effective in low- and middle-income countries, where the cheapest cigarettes are relatively affordable and where smoking rates continue to rise, said Dr. Jha, director of the Centre for Global Health Research of St. Michael’s Hospital. But it would also be effective in rich countries, he said, noting that France halved cigarette consumption between 1990 and 2005 by raising taxes well above inflation.

Altmetric said the paper was among the highest ever scored in the NEJM, ranked No. 20 out of 10,256 scientific articles. That puts it in the top five per cent of all articles ranked by attention received.

Altmetric collects citations of scholarly articles in social media sites, newspapers, government policy documents and other sources.

The firm also ranked Dr. Jha’s paper as No. 80 of its list of 100 top academic papers published in 2014 in terms of online attention.

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St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael's Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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