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Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas​ - PAHO

September 18, 2018

The Report on Tobacco Control in the Region of the Americas was launched recently, in order to provide an overview of the situation of the tobacco epidemic in the 35 countries of the Region.

The report has 4 chapters. The first one explains the tobacco epidemic and its tendencies. The second explains the reference frames for tobacco control issues. The third one shows the progress of the implementation of the MPOWER strategy in the region, especially the tax measure; and the last, identifies the challenges and lessons learned.

PAHO presents in summary form in chapter 3, the comparison between 2008 and 2016 of the 35 countries for the following figures: prices of the most sold markers in US dollars, total tax as a percentage of the sale value, specific tax as a percentage of the value of sales and percentage of GDP per capita required to buy 2000 cigarettes of the best-selling brand.

Between 2008 and 2016, the price of cigarettes has increased in all countries of the region. The biggest change has been in the Bahamas (not counting the data of Venezuela for its conjuncture), where it varied $ 6.31. While the smallest change was in Belizec, with only 0.09 USD.

Although most countries had an increase in price, it is necessary to review the affordability data. This indicator allows us to see if in fact it is more expensive for a person to acquire the same amount of cigarettes over time. It can happen that, the price of cigarettes increases, but since it is not indexed to inflation, there is no real increase in the price of the good.

Between 2014 and 2016, of the 35 countries presented, ten of them did not decrease the affordability of cigarettes: Antigua and Barbuda, Colombia, Costa Rica, El Salvador, USA, Guatemala, Mexico, Panama, Dominican Republic and Saint Kitss and Nevis. It should be noted that, for the particular case of Colombia, there was a 100% increase approved by Congress for the specific tax in December 2016

The chapter closes summarizing the uses that have been given to the tax in the region. Examples include Panama, which allocates 20% of the selective tax collection to the National Cancer Institute, 20% to the Health Authorities for prevention and treatment of diseases caused by smoking, and 10% to the Customs Authorities for the prevention and prosecution of smuggling in tobacco products.