Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI)

Raise taxes on tobacco


Solutions

Increasing the price of tobacco through higher taxes is the single most effective way to decrease consumption and encourage tobacco users to quit. In addition, the more than 170 Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control have an obligation under Article 6 of the treaty to implement tax and price policies "so as to contribute to the health objectives aimed at reducing tobacco consumption".

Tobacco taxes have been used for centuries by governments worldwide. They are well accepted by both the public and political leadership because tobacco is not an essential good and is straightforward to tax. Tobacco taxes are probably the most easily accepted form of taxation, even among the poor, because most people understand that tobacco is harmful. They are also most effective in reducing consumption among youths and the poor.

Unfortunately, taxes and prices have not increased enough, mainly because of inefficiency of existing tax systems in a number of countries. Many countries either have a complicated tax structure or a weak tax administration. Addressing those will help use the tobacco taxation measure to its full strength, leading to effective increases in prices, reduction in consumption and reduction in the tobacco-related burden of disease and death.

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