‘Bangladesh has scope to form a better cigarette tax policy’
Bangladesh still has ample opportunity to do better in the Cigarette Tax Scorecard, an initiative to assess the performance of cigarette tax policies of 160 countries, anti-tobacco advocacy organisation PROGGA said today.
Bangladesh scored 2.63 on a scale of 5 in 2021 whereas New Zealand and Ecuador topped the list with 4.63 followed by the United Kingdom and Canada with 4.38 and 4.25 respectively.
The Cigarette Tax Scorecard, is an initiative of the Tobacconomics programme of the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) in the US.
The report focuses on four key dimensions of cigarette tax systems: cigarette prices, changes in cigarette affordability over time, share of taxes in retail cigarette prices and cigarette tax structure.
The findings of the Bangladesh part of this year's report were unveiled today in a virtual event organised by research organisation PROGGA with support from Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids.
The latest report shows ample opportunity for Bangladesh to improve its performance by increasing the prices of cigarettes, increasing the tax share of the price, and improving the existing tobacco tax structure, PROGGA said.
The latest edition of the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard presents an actionable assessment of the cigarette tax policies of 160 countries, using data from the World Health Organisation's biennial report on the global tobacco epidemic in 2020.
The latest scorecard showed that Bangladesh performed better in 2020 (2.63 score) than it did in 2018 (2.38 score).
However, the country has seen virtually no progress in cigarette prices and tax structure reform, PROGGA said analysing the data of the report.
Compared to 2018, the latest study findings hardly show any improvement in the global scenario, as the average global score reached 2.28 from 2.07 in the previous report.
Out of 160, 113 countries scored 3 or below.
The top-performing countries have either introduced uniform specific excise tax (often considered the best possible taxation method in cigarettes) or mixed taxation (both specific excise tax and ad valorem tax), PROGGA said.
Nigar Nargis, senior scientific director of tobacco control research of the American Cancer Society and a member of the Tobacconomics team, presented the findings.
"When it comes to cigarette tax structure, Bangladesh should introduce uniform specific excise taxes instead of multi-tiered ad valorem taxes and annually adjust tax rates with inflation and economic growth. At the same time, taxes on cigarettes should be increased considerably," she said.
As the chief guest of the event, Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad, convener of the National Anti-Tobacco Platform, said the study findings can help policymakers to adopt effective tobacco tax policies.