Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Australians won't pay tobacco levy

The World Health Organisation has proposed a tobacco levy known as the Solidarity Tobacco Campaign to be added by wealthier countries to support tobacco control efforts in developing countries.

This is the latest of a number of ideas, which have included levies raised on currency transactions and airline seats, in order to raise funds for tobacco control.

Article 26 of the Framework Convention for Tobacco Control provides for these fund-raising efforts.

Article 26 of the WHO FCTC expressly relates to the generation of funds "for the development and strengthening of multisectoral comprehensive tobacco control programmes" of developing countries. Furthermore, a study developed by the WHO Secretariat in accordance with Article 26.5(c) of the treaty and submitted to the Conference of the Parties (COP) to the WHO FCTC in 2006 indicated that tobacco taxation is a sustainable, stable means to generate funds for tobacco control and other public health initiatives. The COP gave “full support to the prioritization of resource mobilization for tobacco control at the national and international levels”.
It is interesting that they call this fund a 'solidarity' fund. Solidarity implies voluntarism. It's also interesting that they regard tobacco taxation in developed countries as 'sustainable', but perhaps paradoxical to want health programmes to rely for their funding on tobacco sales. They get off with it because it supports their goal to make tobacco as expensive as they possibly can.

The World Health Organisation seems to focus quite a bit of attention to getting money out of countries – a variable voluntary contribution is levied on all countries, poor as well as rich, and some of them seem to be having trouble keeping up with payments. In fact its financial difficulties are long-standing, and it cites financial difficulties as an impediment to tobacco control in poorer countries.

The World Health Organisation tries to persuade governments to tax tobacco heavily to fight tobacco-related harm in their own countries. In addition it wishes to encourage a solidarity fund, for helping other countries:  
Concerning international assistance for health, for decades, a key principle underlying provision of such assistance has been solidarity, whereby richer countries assist developing countries ...
It is heartening to see that Australia has rejected this suggestion. In spite of a heavily anti-smoking policy stance, it has stated that it will not be implementing an additional levy: it announced a $700,000 donation following the conference last month on non-communicable diseases. Perhaps it has begun to notice the insatiable nature of global tobacco control efforts:  
... The spread of some diseases across countries also requires collective action based on solidarity to address global public health needs. To further support global solidarity and strengthen health‐development investments, Member States could decide to contribute a part of their tobacco taxe revenues for international purposes.
Oh aye! 

In acknowledging the precarious state of Framework Convention finances the Framework Convention Alliance says this: 
FCTC Parties must now face the reality that existing international funding systems have failed tobacco control. And the world is paying the price – NCDs have been ranked as one of the most serious threats to global stability.
Ranked by whom? The World Economic Foundation, based in Geneva. (Aren't fuel and resource shortages more likely to cause instability?) The referenced work is called Global Risk Factors 2011 and no url is provided. This report, on the other hand, is entitled Global Risks 2011. It's hair-raising (discussing cyber security, resource security and WMDs among other issues), but gives no more than a passing nod at non-communicable diseases. 

Good for Australia – now drop the plain packaging proposal and put life back into perspective.

1 comment:

Ashley Williams said...

That's really cool !! Through This can see a reduction in the Tobacco Import / export since the duties and taxes been increased or while we are imposing duty on Tobacco normally it will be shown in the Tobacco traffic!! i can definitely support this action !!