NETTA: Foundations | Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids
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Why bet on tobacco taxes?

The tobacco epidemic has become a global public health concern.

Tobacco is the only common risk factor on the four main non-transmisible diseases (cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, chronic respiratory diseases) and the global main cause of preventable deaths. Currently, tobacco kills more than seven million people each year in the world, and more than 900,000 in the region of The Americas. Almost 80% of smokers are in low middle income countries.

The tobacco tax measure is the most cost effective for reducing tobacco consumption. But, despite the extensive evidence available, it remains a rather sub-standard measure, especially in the region.

According to experts on the subject, the main reasons why the measure has not been implemented enough are:

1. The responsibility for tobacco control is assigned to the Ministries of Health, but usually this sector is not familiarized with fiscal policies. On the other hand, the areas of the governments usually involved on taxes policies are not aware about the States' dutties on tobacco taxes and the benefits of this measure in terms of public health and economic growth

2. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control is binding but there is no legal repercussion for its non-compliance.

3. The tobacco industry does a strong lobby in national governments, which represents a major obstacle to developing the tobacco tax policy.

4. Lack of political leadership. Whoever decides to take a stand with this initiative, must recognize that the tax will not be a significant source of government income but will work as a measure to reduce tobacco consumption.

5. The civil and academic society should be more involved in the subject. The recommendations that they have to contribute and the activism in the subject can create a pressure on the government.

In accordance with the above, this web page aims to inform about the characteristics of the tobacco tax policy in the region and its effectiveness. Pretending to be an information platform for those interested on the subject.