Updated SFP position paper on tobacco taxation
In September 2018, SFP submitted an updated Position Paper on tobacco taxation to the European Commission's consultation on the possible revision of the Tobacco Tax Directive.
The position paper is an update of the one adopted in February 2017. While the main policy asks remained the same, this paper brings fresh evidence and data in support of SFP's priorities.
Summary of SFP policy asks
- Pursue the objective of 30% reduction in the prevalence of current tobacco use in people aged 15 years and over by 2025
This objective is already an EU commitment and tax policy is an important lever to ensure that it is achieved. The Directive’s objectives are to ensure both the proper functioning of the internal market and, at the same time, a high level of health protection. Setting a 30% reduction target in the prevalence of current tobacco use in people aged 15 years and over by 2025 would establish a clear criterion against which the success of the Directive should be assessed. This commitment has also been taken by the EU and its member states as part of the Sustainable Development goals, the global Non-Communicable Diseases process, and by adopting decisions at the Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.
- Achieve upwards convergence of prices across Member States
This could be done by approximating the levels of minimum rates of excise duties applicable under the Directive for each tobacco product towards a common high denominator across the EU, as a way to achieve a high level of health protection and the proper functioning of the internal market. Achieving upwards price convergence will:
- respond to the specific call of five EU Member States as part of the March 2016 Council conclusions;
- reduce the glaring inequalities in the level of health protection afforded by fiscal policies across the EU;
- reduce the incentives for cross-border tax evasion.
- Align excise duties for roll-your-own and make-your-own tobacco with those of cigarettes
The tax and resulting price differences between cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco undermines the health benefits of high excise duties on cigarettes by incentivising smokers that would have reduced or quit due to tax / price increases to switch to hand-rolled tobacco products and other relatively less-taxed tobacco products.
- Introduce a specific definition and tax category for raw tobacco and relevant intermediate products, so that they are included in the excise system and covered by the control system (EMCS).
This revised position paper was developed by Angel López Nicolas and Michal Stoklosa and reviewed by Deborah Arnott, Luk Joossens, Hana Ross and Anca Toma Friedlaender. It was adopted by the SFP Board on 29 August 2018.
List of endorsing organisations (to 5 October 2018). The paper remains open for endorsements.
Action on Smoking and Health (UK)
Action on Smoking and Health (Ireland)
Belgian Foundation against Cancer
Cancer Research UK
Cezko bez Koure (CZ)
Comité National Contre le Tabagisme (FR)
Dutch Cancer Society
European Heart Network
Fresh Northeast (UK)
Irish Cancer Society
Lithuanian Coalition for Tobacco and Alcohol Control
Norwegian Cancer Society
Slovenian Coalition for Public Health, Environment and Tobacco Control
Smoke Free Life Coalition Bulgaria
Standing Committee of European Doctors
Tobacco-Free Romania Initiative
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