De-Linking Tobacco Taxation and Illicit Trade in Africa

Authors: Max Gallien
Publisher: ICTD
Date: May 2020

Abstract:

Summary Brief 22

Smoking tobacco has been much less common traditionally in Africa than in Europe or North America. But this is changing. As Africa has become a growth market for the tobacco industry, adverse health effects are increasingly visible. While increasing tobacco taxation has been shown as the most effective policy tool in curbing tobacco consumption, many countries in Africa have maintained relatively low levels of tobacco taxation. One of the most common arguments against raising taxes on tobacco has been that this would increase smuggling. Drawing on recent studies from across Africa, this brief highlights the complex relationship between smuggling and taxation, and argues that smuggling should not deter African governments from increasing taxes on tobacco products.