Nigerian Anti-Tobacco Activists Want High Tobacco Taxes

African Smoker

The experience of many countries worldwide demonstrates that cigarettes tax increase leads to decline in smoking rates.

Tobacco products in Nigeria are so cheap that anyone may afford himself buying cigarettes, even if he lives on less than a $1 per day.  Taxes in Nigeria are obligatory and businesses together with workers do contribute to country’s budget.

In 2012 the WHO estimated that in case all countries increase tobacco taxes by 50%. the number of smokers would reduce by 49 million within the next three years.
Anti-tobacco activists say that money gained from tobacco taxes can be put into fight against tobacco.

However, Nigerian tobacco sellers and tobacco users have different opinions about the increase of tobacco tax. Philip Jakpor, chief of media, the Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth Nigeria says that the revenue gained from cigarettes taxes can be directed into more productive use.

A research made recently showed that in Lagos state there are over 9000 people suffering from tobacco-related diseases in the hospitals. They are treated on the money from state funds gained from tax payers, but in case the tobacco companies pay high taxes, funds gotten can be used to treat the tobacco patients on these money.

The representatives of British American Tobacco Nigeria (BATN) already told that tax increase will have more negative effects than positive. But anti-smoking activists totally disagree with that.

Let us take France as an example, which several years ago increased three times prices on cigarettes. The measure reduced cigarettes sales by 50% and as a result there occurred a drop in number of smoking related diseases. Let us take another country, Philippines, which increased taxes and in one year gathered more than the expected revenue and plans to spend 85% of these money on health services.

According to the WHO Director-General, Dr Margaret Chan, increasing tobacco taxes in most effective way to fight tobacco use.

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