Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Innovative financing for health: tobacco taxes

Health is underfunded in low- and middle-income countries. It is recognized globally that more needs to be done in this area. The Task Force on Innovative International Financing for Health Systems, which operated from September 2008 to September 2009 and was co-chaired by United Kingdom Prime Minister Gordon Brown and World Bank President Robert Zoellick, focused on finding innovative financing mechanisms to strengthen health systems in the poorest countries in the world. In its report, More money for health, and more health for the money, published in summer 2009, the Task Force included a recommendation to explore the technical viability of tobacco taxes as a solidarity levy for innovative financing for health systems.

As a result of the working group’s analysis, two complementary approaches could be made for implementing the Task Force recommendation: a country approach and a global approach.