Long-term, targeted approach to tobacco tax pays dividends
Countries that have adopted policies to raise tobacco taxes substantially, and keep pushing them higher, have been rewarded with higher revenues and spectacular health gains, a review of experience from a number of low- and middle-income countries shows.
The report, Winning approaches to tobacco taxation: Lessons from the implementation of Article 6 of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) discusses the examples of Brazil, Philippines, Turkey, Chile and Uganda.
They show that boldness and sustained effort on tobacco taxation can help governments to achieve their priorities, for example helping to pay for universal health coverage, educational reform or re-building infrastructure after devastating earthquakes.
These examples also suggest that Parties to the FCTC could all benefit from making their long-term tax policy explicit and setting a numerical target – an approach recommended by the FCTC Conference of the Parties, as we will see.