People have died from tobacco-related diseases since the opening of the first FCTC working group on 28 October 1999.
- June 11, 2014
Chile’s Congress is considering a significant increase in tobacco taxes after a workshop organized by FCA and partners to mark World No Tobacco Day 2014.
Raising tobacco prices is recognised as one of the most effective tobacco control measures.
Chile has put in place measures to reduce tobacco use in recent years, including adopting a new tobacco control law in 2013, but prices are still comparatively low, and adult and youth tobacco consumption remains the highest in Latin America.
Dr. Michelle Bachelet, a pediatrician, took office as Chile’s President on 11 March 2014, and her new Minister of Health, Dr Helia Molina, has demonstrated a commitment to tobacco control in the past.
Tax reform a priority
In the lead-up to the workshop, FCA learned that the Government had prioritized tax reform as a means to raise funds for education. It had calculated that a 12 percent hike in tobacco taxes would be sufficient for revenue purposes, but FCA and its partners, the Smoke Free Chile network, Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), the World Bank, prominent economists and other partners, knew that such an increase would be insufficient for health purposes.
With the aim of making a strong economic case for the increase, the event was held at the School of Business of Adolfo Ibañez University on 27 May. It was attended by representatives of many universities and scientific bodies, health advocates and Minister Molina as well as Senator Guido Girardi.
Afterwards, the organisers again had a chance to meet with Minister Molina, as well as Senator Lagos Weber, President of Finance Commission in the Senate. Discussions on the proposed tax increase are ongoing.
The workshop was reported by the major newspapers and TV channels.
FCA was involved in similar initiatives to promote higher tobacco taxes and prices, in Peru and Uruguay, to mark WNTD 2014.
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