Raising tobacco taxes, saving lives: evidence from Vietnam
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Hanoi University of Public Health, Center for Population Health Sciences, Viet Nam
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A108
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Regardless of good progress on implementing MPOWER package, Vietnam is still struggling with Raising tobacco tax intervention. Total taxes on tobacco products only account for 41.6% of retail price (WHO's recommendation rate is 65-85%). The study aims to assess health impacts of different scenarios of tobacco taxes by the reduction in tobacco consumption and smoking attributable deaths.

We developed a simple static model based on previous works by Jha Prabhat et al. 2010 with several improvements. The scenarios on raising cigarette taxes were aligned with Vietnam Tobacco Tax Simulation Model developed by WHO & Vietnam MOF. Each scenario calculated the reduction in initiation and current consumption and then estimating smoking attributable deaths averted and health cost saved based on existed evidence in low and middle income countries. Four smoking groups including current youth smokers, future youth smokers, current adult smokers and future adult smokers were evaluated separately.

Four scenarios of raising tobacco taxes would prevent 278,380 - 289,268 premature deaths, equivalent to the mortality cost of US$ 2,528 - 2,636 million. Estimated 4.5% of smoking attributable deaths would be averted if the smoking mortality and quitting proportion are at 30%. In the extreme scenario, raising total taxes by 116% comparing with figures of 2016 could lead to a tax share at 65% of retail price. This extreme scenario would prevent over 919,000 premature deaths and save up to 8,378 million US$. 14.7% of smoking attributable deaths in total population would be avoided while this would made up to 52.38% among future youth smokers.

Raising cigarette tax and prices in Vietnam could lead to considerable reduction in deadly burden of tobacco use, further result in saving huge amount of money for society. Therefore, Vietnam should pay more attention on the implementation of tax and price policies as recommended by WHO.