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Ukraine Continues Fight Against Tobacco with Significant Cigarette Tax Increase

January 19, 2016


In a big win for public health, Ukraine’s President has signed a new law increasing taxes on cigarettes by 40 percent. The law, which takes effect March 1, continues Ukraine’s strong commitment to reducing the devastating burden of tobacco-related death and disease. It was enacted despite strong opposition from the tobacco industry and its allies.

Tobacco tax increases are one of the most effective ways to reduce smoking and other tobacco use, especially among vulnerable populations such as youth and low-income smokers.

Ukraine’s latest cigarette tax increase builds on previous measures the country has enacted to reduce tobacco use and its huge toll on the country. These include a 100 percent smoke-free law, a ban on almost all forms of tobacco marketing, graphic health warnings and prior tobacco tax increases. These proven public health measures are called for by the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which obligates parties to implement science-based strategies to combat the global tobacco epidemic.

The smoking rate among Ukrainian men is one of the highest in the world, with half of all men using tobacco products. The tobacco tax increase will help reduce Ukraine’s 115,000 annual deaths from tobacco. We applaud the Ukrainian government for standing strong against the tobacco industry and for its continued commitment to reducing tobacco use, which is projected to kill one billion people worldwide this century unless countries take strong action now.