Effective control of tobacco consumption through higher tobacco taxes and prices was the key topic of an ongoing regional workshop in Yangon.
The implementation of WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) Article 6 in ASEAN Countries released Friday is hoped to push for higher tobacco taxes that could lead to reduce the number of cigarettes smoked, and prevent initiation among potential new users.
PROGRAM MANAGER, SOUTHEAST ASIA TOBACCO CONTROL ALLIANCE, SOPHAPAN RATANACHENA: “Tobacco price is the key factor and affordability of cigarette products is the key factor of the smokers in the region so if we implement tobacco tax and price mixture, it would be one of the most effective major to help people reduce the consumption is specially sensitive group who are young and poor sensitive to the price.”
The Southeast Asia Region is estimated to have some 125 million smokers, according to recent data. Annually, there are about 500,000 tobacco-caused deaths and expert forecast this to increase even further.
In Myanmar, cigarette price was increased by 10% , which is thought to have reduced cigarette demand by 2.5 to 5%.
PRESIDENT, PEOPLE’S HEALTH FOUNDATION, DR. THAN SEIN: Tax on cigarettes and tobacco related products was collected under Union Taxation Law and we increase the tax rate on cigarettes from 100% to 120% but in the other tobacco related products, just 60% we collected. I hope the increase in tobacco tax will lead to higher prices of tobacco and its products, and then encourage smokers to quit, reduce the number of cigarettes smoked, and prevent initiation among potential new users.
The FCTC was adopted by 180 state parties to WHO in may 2003, and entered into force two years later.