World No Tobacco Day 2014

International, Non-Tax Price Increases, Price Promotions

Each year, the World Health Organization (WHO) celebrates World No Tobacco Day on May 31st, shining a light on the devastating effects that tobacco use has on the health of people across the world and highlighting policies that can mitigate these effects. Smoking claims the lives of nearly 6 million individuals annually with 600,000 of those deaths resulting from non-smokers’ exposure to secondhand smoke [1]. Trends in data show that by 2030, the number of annual deaths caused by tobacco may rise to 8 million [1].

This year, the WHO calls on governments to raise tobacco prices in WorldNoTobaccoTaxesorder to reduce tobacco consumption. WHO data suggests that if every country raised cigarette package prices by 50% that there would be 49 million fewer smokers (38 million fewer adult smokers and 11 million fewer youth smokers) [2]. This would result in 11 million less deaths caused by smoking [2]. Due to the effectiveness of tax increases, the industry attempts to create fear around the economic impact of increasing taxes on tobacco products. For more information about raising cigarette prices and excise tax myths debunked, read WHO’s “Raising Tax on Tobacco – What You Need to Know” brochure.

In addition to excise taxes, there are a number of ways for local communities in the United States to increase tobacco product prices including multi-pack and price discounting bans, cigarette minimum price laws and mitigation fees. As highlighted byWHO’s brochure, there are a number of loopholes that the tobacco industry takes advantage of in order to avoid tobacco product price increases. These tactics include providing price discounts directly to retailers and/or wholesalers. This strategy is an important one for the industry as it accounted for 83.6% of their advertising and promotional expenditures in 2011 and remains their highest expenditure category since 2002 [3]. As a result, it is imperative to implement a comprehensive strategy to combat industry price discounting tactics.

For more information on additional approaches to increasing tobacco product prices, visit Counter Tobacco’s policy solutions page.

Visit the WHO’s website for more information about World No Tobacco Day and how you can get involved.

 

References:

  1. Tobacco. (n.d.). WHO. Retrieved May 29, 2014, from http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs339/en/
  2. Raising Tax on Tobacco- What You Need to Know. (2014, January 1). . Retrieved May 29, 2014, fromhttp://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/112841/1/WHO_NMH_PND_14.2_eng.pdf?ua=1
  3. FTC Releases Reports on 2011 Cigarette and Smokeless Tobacco Advertising and Promotion. (n.d.). Federal Trade Commission. Retrieved May 29, 2014, from http://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2013/05/ftc-releases-reports-2011-cigarette-and-smokeless-tobacco