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Economists and public health experts met to discuss how far tax mechanisms are being used across Africa to reduce tobacco consumption. The central African region was a focus.

The three-hour special session gathered attendees from 10 countries. Its purpose was to highlight best practice, assess impact and consider how to expedite the progress of this tobacco control measure.

‘The data presented here has shown that the region is doing relatively well on tax policy,’ said Daouda Adam, The Union’s technical advisor for Africa. ‘But we have also seen that there is still much to do. The level of taxation is still relatively low compared to other parts of the world. It is well known that the tobacco industry is targeting the African market -- raising tobacco tax strategically is the most effective tool we have to prevent increased uptake.’

Increasing tobacco tax is the single most effective measure for reducing tobacco use and is a core element of the World Health Organization’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control [WHO FCTC]. The session drew on best practice for tax reform, including the importance of regional collaboration and coordination, as well as the most effective mechanisms for increasing tax over time, ensuring that prices keep pace with inflation.

It was chaired by The Union’s Sylviane Ratte and Rajeev Cherukupalli from Johns Hopkins University.

Find out more about tobacco tax here.

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