A Deakin University study will analyse how fires in Indian farm regions can be used to understand the health impacts of Australia's bushfires on farmers and non-farmers.
The study showed India's fires - which blanket large parts of the country in pollution from October to December each year - are estimated to cause $13.4 billion in annual healthcare costs due to higher rates of hypertension.
The research, published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, matched blood pressure readings from nearly 784,000 people across India with satellite data on 1.2 million agricultural fires, wind direction and pollution.
Deakin University's Department of of Economics and Centre for Disaster Resilience and Recovery researcher Hemant Pullabhotla said the study showed it was important to understand how fires impacted people's long-term health.
"We wanted to get a sense of the value of the damages caused by this smoke, because it has a significant health impact for India," he said.
"Often people think of cardiovascular disease as a lifestyle disease, something suffered by people who have a higher caloric intake and are more sedentary."
But he said that wasn't the case in India, with people living in rural areas undertaking high levels of physical work and having a lower-than-average calorie intake, but still recording high levels of cardiovascular disease.
"There may be some genetic factors at play here, but our research shows there are significant environmental factors too," he said.
"Pollution from agricultural fires play a significant part in driving this problem."
He said the research gave an argument for governments to invest in reducing or stopping agricultural fires.
"Our study shows the economic pay off - billions and billions of dollars - can be much higher than what the government is spending on subsidies to encourage farmers not to burn," he said.
Research that is yet to be published also shows that agricultural fires also have a significant negative impact on infant mortality.
Dr Pullabhotla said in Australia, such major health impacts came with large bushfires but smaller fires could be devastating.
"What our data shows is that smaller fires still generate lots of smoke and pollution," he said.
"There is so much burning happening in Australia everyday quite close to where people are living, and there doesn't need to be high levels of pollution to have significant effects on human health."