State urged to hike cigarette tax

Business Daily Kenya:  Government has been urged to step up tobacco tax collection to prevent majority of her productive population from dy...

Business Daily Kenya: 

Tobacco farmer tends his crop. Photo/Courtesy

Government has been urged to step up tobacco tax collection to prevent majority of her productive population from dying due to cigarette smoking, a key contributor to prevalence of non-communicable diseases (NCDs).

Gerald Yonga at Aga Khan University’s NCD Research to Policy Unit said enforcing a comprehensive national smoke-free law and largely banning advertising and promotion of related products would stress required seriousness.

According to health experts, cigarette smoking is a key contributor to an estimated 6,000 deaths per year in tobacco consumption related diseases Yonga said economic interests by manufacturers makes it difficult to control prevalence of NCDs.

The tobacco industry accounted for half of the total excise stamps issued last year to emerge the biggest sales stream for the taxman ahead of spirits and beer, Kenya Revenue Authority (KRA) data at start of May showed.

Cigarettes accounted for 328.79 million excise stamps or 48 per cent of stickers issued in the period to June 2016, out of the 688.75 million sold. In total, KRA raked in Sh1.03 billion from excise stamp fees in the fiscal year June 2015 to June 2016.

“Without full implementation of the Tobacco Control Act, Kenya risks losing 60 per cent of its population,” said Yonga World Health Organisation (WHO) says a small investment equal to Sh100 to Sh300 per person per year could dramatically reduce deaths from NCDs.

It estimates from 2011 to 2025, cumulative economic losses in low middle income and developing countries from NCDs will amount to Sh700 trillion. “The tobacco control policy is an excellent investment in the health of a country’s population.

According to WHO, for less than Sh7 per person per year, Kenya will be able to pay for the four ‘best buys’ in tobacco control policy,” he said at the launch of the African Institute for Health and Development (AIHD), commending it’s Strategic Plan 2017-2022 which he said is aligned to Vision 2030.

The post State urged to hike cigarette tax appeared first on Mediamax Network Limited.

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