The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Experts urge higher tobacco taxes in Benin

Benin tax 290412Photo (c) Tosin Orogun.Tobacco control advocates and officials met last week in Benin to discuss how to strengthen tobacco taxes in the west African nation and surrounding region. 

The low prices of tobacco products in Benin translate into a high consumption rate, said Dr. Judith Segnon-Agueh, Tobacco Control Focal Point in the Benin Ministry of Health.

"We must take conscious steps to ensure that we raise the price of tobacco products in the country through taxes, so that tobacco products become expensive such that they are not easily accessible in Benin," she said.

Mr. Noureiny Tcha Kondor of the Africa Tobacco Control Consortium (ATCC), argued that regional action is necessary and must be consistent with the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

"The government must take seriously the issue of the loopholes of present tobacco excise tax regulations by supporting the implementation of FCTC-compliant tobacco tax policy while being involved in anti-illicit tobacco trade initiatives at the regional level," added ATCC's Taxation Campaign Coordinator.

According to Augustin Faton, President of Initiative for Tobacco Control Education in the Republic of Benin, all west African countries are economic stakeholders in cross-border trade.

"Putting in place an effective tobacco taxation policy in Benin and corresponding policies across the region will help reduce cases of smuggling of tobacco products and ensure compliance with existing trade protocols among these countries that are sharing borders,” he added.

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