The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Palau bans sale of duty-free tobacco

Palau has passed a number of regulations that will make tobacco more expensive in the country from 1 January 2014.

It is widely accepted that price increases are the most effective way to reduce tobacco consumption, and to discourage potential young smokers from starting.

In the New Year the Pacific Island nation will join Nepal and Romania as countries that completely ban the sale of duty-free tobacco.

"We have always advocated for a ban on duty-free, but this time around, the political will was there," says Valerie Whipps, Chairman of the Coalition for a Tobacco Free Palau.

Three countries – Barbados, Singapore and Sri Lanka – have banned the duty-free import of cigarettes.

Taxes on all tobacco products in Palau will also increase in 2014 – from US$2.00 to $3.50 per .017 kilogram. The price will rise to $5.00 in 2015.

The increases were based on the principles and recommendations of Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), which were adopted at the FCTC Conference of the Parties in 2012, added Valerie.

Other changes include replacing the import tax on tobacco with an excise tax "to adequately capture all tobacco products in the market, and to bypass any future potential trade agreement issues".

Finally, a review of the impact of the changes on health and revenue has been scheduled for 2017.

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