Tobacco Tax Index 2017: assessing implementation of WHO FCTC Article 6 in ASEAN countries
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Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Tobacco Tax Program, Thailand
Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, Thailand
Publication date: 2018-03-01
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2018;16(Suppl 1):A110
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Background and challenges to implementation:
Because tobacco is a threat to sustainable social development, tobacco tax policy will play a significant role in achieving the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. Precisely because of the effectiveness of tobacco taxes in discouraging consumption, tobacco companies continue to lobby against effective taxation to protect their profits. Despite the known public health and fiscal benefits of taxing tobacco, many governments have not maximized their use of tobacco taxes. As a result, tobacco consumption rates remain high in Southeast Asia resulting in more tobacco-related diseases and increased healthcare costs required to treat them.

Intervention or response:
The WHO FCTC Article 6 Guidelines provide clear guidance to governments on tobacco tax policies. SEATCA developed a tobacco tax policy1 survey tool based on the WHO FCTC Article 6 Guidelines to assess current tobacco tax measures and provide ASEAN governments with recommendations for strengthening their tobacco tax policies. An initial assessment was done in 2015 and repeated in 2017.
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Results and lessons learnt:
Compared with 2015, the ASEAN region, as a whole, has seen limited progress over the past two years. Most ASEAN countries still do not have long-term tobacco tax policies with consistent verifiable fiscal and public health targets. Key obstacles limiting effectiveness include tobacco tax structures, weak tax policy, as well as the tobacco industry's interference in and obstruction of tax policy formulation and administration.

Conclusions and key recommendations:
Tobacco Tax Index 2017 of SEATCA is the first civil society's report to urge all ASEAN government to effectively implement the WHO FCTC Article 6. It documented the best practices, challenges and lessons learned among ASEAN countries. Therefore, the tobacco tax policymakers are assisted with practical information to achieve in the WHO FCTC Article 6 implementation which contributing to the SDGs achievement as a whole.

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