UK Imposes 7th Highest Cigarette Tax Rate, WHO Reports

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The UK imposes 7th highest cigarette tax rate in 2014, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Global Tobacco Epidemic Report by the health organization stated that the country’s tax rate for 20 stick cigarette packet is the second highest in the EU at 82.13%, behind Bulgaria which imposes 82.65 tax rate.The island republic of Kiribati currently imposes the highest cigarette tax rate at 89.13%. Total cigarette tax comprises of excise tax, import duties, ad valorem, sales tax and other taxes. Imposing high cigarette tax rate is recommended by the WHO to reduce smoking prevalence and utilized to benefit the local economy. ‘Raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue,’ said WHO Director-General Dr Margaret Chan in a press release. The UK government’s decision to maintain high taxation rate for cigarette products for the past decade is in line with the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control treaty which was ratified back in 2005. Article 6 of the global health treaty requires increasing the sales price of tobacco products via tax hike and prohibiting sales of tax and duty-free tobacco products.According to HM Treasury, high taxation of cigarette products has generated £12.3 billion worth of revenue annually though the Tobacco Manufacturers Association argued that the measure is generating losses to the government due to more smokers resorting to smuggled products and purchasing on the black market. The WHO report also stated that 10% increase in cigarette price will reduce smoking consumption between to 2 to 8%. ‘Evidence from countries such as China and France shows that higher tobacco product prices linked to increased taxes lead to declines in smoking prevalence and tobacco-related harm, such as lung cancer deaths’, said Douglas Betcher from the WHO Department For The Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases.High taxation rate in certain countries reflects its high smoking prevalence. Kiribati has the highest recorded tobacco consumption rate of 74% in the Pacific region. According to tobacco control advisor, Ada Moadsiri, imposing tax hike on tobacco goods is part of the country’s Tobacco Free Pacific Campaign.” We have seen in New Zealand after they declared their tobacco free New Zealand goal for 2025 that tobacco use consumption is actually decreasing at an accelerated rate as they continue to implement tobacco control action, much like the ones that our Pacific Islands are doing now,” she said in an interview with Radio New Zealand International.

The UK imposes 7th highest cigarette tax rate in 2014, according to a new report by the World Health Organization (WHO). The Global Tobacco Epidemic Report by the health organization stated that the country’s tax rate for 20 stick cigarette packet is the second highest in the EU at 82.13%, behind Bulgaria which imposes 82.65 tax rate.

The island republic of Kiribati currently imposes the highest cigarette tax rate at 89.13%. Total cigarette tax comprises of excise tax, import duties, ad valorem, sales tax and other taxes. Imposing high cigarette tax rate is recommended by the WHO to reduce smoking prevalence and utilized to benefit the local economy. ‘Raising taxes on tobacco products is one of the most effective and cost-effective ways to reduce consumption of products that kill, while also generating substantial revenue,’ said WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan in a press release. The UK government’s decision to maintain high taxation rate for cigarette products for the past decade is in line with the WHO Framework Convention of Tobacco Control treaty which was ratified back in 2005. Article 6 of the global health treaty requires increasing the sales price of tobacco products via tax hike and prohibiting sales of tax and duty-free tobacco products.

According to HM Treasury, high taxation of cigarette products has generated £12.3 billion worth of revenue annually though the Tobacco Manufacturers Association argued that the measure is generating losses to the government due to more smokers resorting to smuggled products and purchasing on the black market. The WHO report also stated that 10% increase in cigarette price will reduce smoking consumption between to 2 to 8%. ‘Evidence from countries such as China and France shows that higher tobacco product prices linked to increased taxes lead to declines in smoking prevalence and tobacco-related harm, such as lung cancer deaths’, said Douglas Betcher from the WHO Department For The Prevention of Non-Communicable Diseases.

High taxation rate in certain countries reflects its high smoking prevalence. Kiribati has the highest recorded tobacco consumption rate of 74% in the Pacific region. According to tobacco control advisor, Ada Moadsiri, imposing tax hike on tobacco goods is part of the country’s Tobacco Free Pacific Campaign. “We have seen in New Zealand after they declared their tobacco free New Zealand goal for 2025 that tobacco use consumption is actually decreasing at an accelerated rate as they continue to implement tobacco control action, much like the ones that our Pacific Islands are doing now,” she said in an interview with Radio New Zealand International.

Author: Zakwan Zainal Abidin

Biomedical science researcher turned science journalist, communicator Strives to turn scientific achievements into public understanding

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