SIMULATED INCREASE OF TOBACCO EXCISE TAXES: GOVERNMENT REFUSED TO ADDITIONAL REVENUES TO THE STATE BUDGET

July 31, Ukrainian Parliament adopted the Law “On Amendments to the Tax Code of Ukraine and other legislative acts of Ukraine (concerning the improvement of regulations)”, which, among other issues, increased the excise taxes on tobacco products. The final draft law №4309a, adopted by the Parliament, increased excise rates on filtered and non-filtered cigarettes by 5%, – to UAH 304.11 per 1000 filtered cigarettes and 133.35 per 1000 non-filtered cigarettes.

Such changes in tobacco products taxation will come into force from September, 1, 2014 and may lead to almost no effect on the consumption of this deadly product and give only scant additional revenue to the State budget.

What is more, just on the eve Ukrainian government proposed to increase the excise duties on non-filter cigarettes to the level of rates of filtered cigarettes – almost twice! Tobacco control experts, NGOs – members of Smoke-Free Ukraine Coalition andAdvocacy Center “LIFE” prepared and sent letter of support for such great initiativewith expert conclusions and passed this official statement to the Prime-Minister of Ukraine. But the representatives of tobacco industry used all their possibilities and arguments to block the initial increase of tobacco taxes, so the finally the excise rates on filtered and non-filtered cigarettes are increased only by 5%.

As far as tobacco industry also tried to provide their own media coverage of this theme – supporting this scant tobacco tax increase by 5% – “LIFE” together with MLI launched micro-advocacy campaign to expose such TI interference and sent letters to the chief editors of informational agencies (which published materials with the comments of TI experts) to draw their attention to the case and provide them with the alternative expert recommendations, calculations and messages. Now “LIFE” is waiting for official responses and plan, together with Telekritika, how to make all this case public.

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