Tobacco Taxation: a Win-Win Strategy for Asia and the Pacific

Video | 30 May 2014

On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2014, ADB's Health Specialist Patricia Moser explains why taxing tobacco is good for public health and the fiscal space across Asia and the Pacific.

Transcript

Title: Tobacco Taxation: a Win-Win Strategy for Asia and the Pacific

Description: On the occasion of World No Tobacco Day 2014, ADB's Health Specialist Patricia Moser explains why taxing tobacco is good for public health and the fiscal space across Asia and the Pacific.

Patricia Moser
Lead Health Specialist
Regional Sustainable Development Department
Asian Development Bank

Tobacco is an important issue for health and development. Smoking tobacco kills. It kills people who smoke and it kills the people around them who inhale second hand smoke.

The bad news for Asia and the Pacific is the number of the cigarette smoked is growing. This is due to open markets, aggressive advertising, increasing income, and increase in the number of women who smokes. The good news is that we know what to do to reduce smoking, we have effective interventions that impact people’s choice regarding tobacco while a full set of social policies are needed.

The most effective means of reducing cigarette smoking is to raise the price of cigarette through taxation. Stopping or reducing smoking improves health, now that’s the first win. There’s a second win though, taxing tobacco means a great deal of new revenues for public programs in countries such as Thailand and the Philippines these revenues are used to bolster government spending for health. In 2013, the Philippine government obtain enough new resources from raising its tax on cigarettes to expend national health insurance coverage to an additional 9 million low income families. Nearly tripling coverage for this group and moving the country closer to universal health insurance coverage. This resource is predictable and sustainable for the medium term. Now, that’s a great win-win.