Tobacco taxes: a win-win strategy for public health and government revenue in Kenya
Emmah Wanyonyi 1  
,  
 
 
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1
International Institute for Legislative Affairs, Kenya
2
Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids (CTFK), United States of America
Publish date: 2018-03-01
 
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A112
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WCTOH
 
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ABSTRACT
Background and challenges to implementation:
Kenya's excise tax system has changed over the years from specific taxes to ad-valorem, hybrid, tiered system and eventually a uniform specific rate for all tobacco products. Prior to 2015 the real price of cigarettes was on the decrease, increasing their affordability; cigarette tax revenues was decreasing even as tax rates and consumption was increasing and the excise tax share in cigarette price was low, compared to the WHO recommended 70%. This impacted negatively on public health and fiscal goals of tobacco taxation in Kenya.

Intervention or response:
From 2010, Kenyan TC advocates implemented a campaign to advocate for implementation of effective tobacco tax systems in Kenya. The campaign comprised of five key components; advocacy leadership by a national civil society organization; buy- in and commitment of the national treasury and the revenue authority; effective engagement and collaboration of key local and international partners who provided research, technical, financial, media and other support; effective countering of tobacco industry tax arguments and strategies with research and action; and strategic use of media to engage the public around tax issues and gain public support.

Results and lessons learnt:
The main outcome of the this campaign was the enactment of the Excise Duty Act 2015 which simplified the structure to uniform specific and increased the rate from Ksh. 1200 per mille to KShs 2,500 per mille. It was estimated that this would result in a 3.4% decline in consumption and 0.3% decline in adult smoking prevalence.
The success is attributed to strong macro- economic expertise in the local advocates, a good understanding of processes and role of different actors, local data for evidence based advocacy and monitoring, exposing and countering industry arguments.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
An effective tobacco tax campaign is anchored on engaging non- traditional TC partners like the ministry of finance, revenue authorities and finance committees of national assemblies.

eISSN:1617-9625