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WHO – 2016 WHO Earmarked Tobacco Taxes

Globally, and particularly in low- and middle-income countries, health budgets are under strain to meet the challenge of preventing the growing prevalence of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Many countries have developed fiscal mechanisms to help finance the health sector and health programmes, including raising tobacco excise taxes and dedicating some of the revenue to a specific fund. Raising tobacco taxes high enough, through a well-designed, well-administered tax policy system, and thus raising the prices of all tobacco products, is one of the most costeffective, efficient measures for reducing tobacco use and tobacco-related morbidity and mortality (1).

In addition to increasing the effectiveness of excise tax systems to increase revenues, governments are encouraged to consider using fiscal policies to reduce consumption of harmful goods such as tobacco. Further, a number of countries have channelled some of the increased tax revenue into increased funding for health programmes. This fiscal policy is also aligned with Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC ), “Price and tax measures to reduce demand for tobacco”, and its guidelines for implementation, which recommend that countries dedicate revenue to fund tobacco control and other health promotion activities (2). Article 26 of the WHO FCTC requires all Parties to secure and provide financial support for the implementation of various tobacco control programmes and activities to meet the objectives of the Convention. Tobacco excise taxes have also been identified as a revenue stream for financing the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (3).

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