Implementation of Article 6 of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in a tobacco dependent economy: Challenges and the way forward
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Warwick Medical School, University of Warwick, Coventry, England, United Kingdom
Publication date: 2020-10-22
Tob. Prev. Cessation 2020;6(Supplement):A72
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Tobacco taxation and price increases are regarded as the most effective measures for tobacco control. The World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) has recognized the importance of these measures and calls on governments through its Article 6 to implement tax and price measures to reduce tobacco use. Despite the proven effectiveness of these measures, the progress of implementation of the FCTC Article 6 is far from optimal compared to the other tobacco control policies. The situation is worse in tobacco-dependent economies like Pakistan.

This study was carried out to identify gaps in the current Tobacco Taxation and Pricing Policies (TTPP) in Pakistan against the WHO FCTC requirements and discusses the challenges in the implementation of better TTPP.

We analyzed official policy documents to assess the TTPP against the FCTC guidelines for the implementation of Article 6 of the FCTC. We used the official tax and pricing data from Pakistan Bureau of Statistics and the Federal Board of Revenues to measure the impact of TTPP on tobacco affordability in the country.

Pakistan taxes raw tobacco, cigarettes and cigarillos, cigars and cheroots. However, the existing TTPP do not meet the WHO FCTC requirements, including the uniform tax level, simple tax structure, and 70% share of excise tax in the price of a product’s pack. There are multiple issues in tobacco tax administration as well. This has translated into highly affordable tobacco products in the country.

Pakistan does not have a clear strategy on using tobacco taxation and prices as a public health tool in the country. Existing TTPP face dual issues of flawed structure and poor administration translating into highly affordable tobacco products and low revenues in the country. There is a need to understand how the political economy of the country is contributing to these challenges.

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