Participants from all over Africa are meeting in Kigali for a 2-day meeting on tobacco taxation, in order to analyze the policies of successful countries such as South Africa, the Gambia and Kenya.The meeting will also identify challenges to tax policy change and recommend areas of technical assistance to overcome these challenges for the benefit of public health. The head of the Non-Communicable Diseases Unit at the ministry of health, Marie Aimee Muhimpundu has said that tobacco is one of the most common risk factors for non-communicable diseases (NCD’s) such as heart disease, stroke, chronic lung disease, type 2 diabetes and many types of cancers. Marie Aimee also said that a recent study conducted by Minisante showed that 14% of the population uses tobacco and that higher taxation of tobacco products can lead to high prices, thus discourage consumption and reduce the health risks. According to statistics from the ministry of finance, tobacco taxation has increased over time – from 60% in 2001-2006, to 120% in 2007- 2009 and 150% for 2009-2015 at 150 %.Emmanuel Nkurunziza of Minecofin said that increased taxation has reduced tobacco consumption by 11%, which is hoped to further increase with higher taxation in the near future.According to WHO, while tobacco use is falling in high income countries (HICs) and many lower and middle income countries(LMICs), mortality from tobacco use will continue to increase in the coming years, with over 175 million people expected to die from a tobacco-related disease by 2039.
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