Implementing effective pricing and taxation measures for prevention and control of smokeless tobacco
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National Institute of Cancer Prevention and Research (NICPR), WHO FCTC Global Knowledge Hub on Smokeless Tobacco, India
Independent Consultant, India
American Cancer Society, United States of America
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A139
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There are approximately 346 million adult smokeless tobacco (SLT) users in the world dominated by the South-East Asian region accounting for nearly 86%. India alone accounts for 67% of the SLT users in the world. While the literature on price and tax measures for smoked tobacco products like cigarettes are more systematic and widely available this is not the case with SLT products. This paper presents the global status of price and tax measures implemented on SLT products by the Parties to FCTC.

An analysis of the country reports from the FCTC reporting instrument and the MPOWER Report 2015 is presented including a comparative analysis of cigarettes and SLT products. A review of the existing literature on the price and tax measures along with gaps and recommendations is also presented.

Taxes on SLTs vary considerably across countries, from no tax on SLTs in five countries to 80.63% in Madagascar. Similarly, there is larger variation in prices of SLT products across countries and within country, across products. Available estimates show that the price elasticity for various SLTs are largely less than one, and hence, responds to price increases. Estimates on affordability of SLTs indicate that these products have become more affordable over the years. The recent changes in SLT taxation under the GST reform in India have reduced the tax burden further on these products.

Parties should equally implement price and tax measures on SLT. Taxation on SLT should be such that it keeps up with inflation, at the same time, ensuring that their prices sufficiently go up, making SLTs less and less affordable. The tax rates should be standardised across the SLT products to prevent substitution with other tobacco products. Efforts should be made to establish a standardized unit for the purposes of pricing or taxing SLTs.

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