STATEMENT about inadmissibility of “bleaching” reputation of tobacco corporations by government agencies

Advocating for the interests of human health protection, advocacy center “Life” strongly opposes the formation of loyalty to the tobacco corporation “Philip Morris Ukraine” by government authorities: The Presidential Office and the Ministry of Health of Ukraine.

March 31, Sergiy Shevchuk, head of charity fund “Здоров’я для всіх” (Health for All) made a statement, Philip Morris Ukraine donated 10 million hryvna to the fund. This news was published on the UNIAN website on April 1, 2020. Journalists quote the head of the Fund Sergiy Shevchuk: “We are in touch with the Ministry of Health and the Presidential Office of Ukraine to allocate resources as efficiently as possible.”

Tobacco corporation “Philip Morris Ukraine” by manipulation and violation of the Law of Ukraine 2899-IV «About measures to prevent and reduce tobacco use and its harmful effects on health” is trying to form a loyal attitude to society, the Government and the President of Ukraine.

We have reason to believe that Philip Morris Ukraine has for several years blocked the imposition of tobacco tax on tobacco products for electrical heating at the level of excise taxes on cigarettes despite no significant difference between the prices of cigarettes and products for electrical heating. In 2018 the Ukrainian budget lost UAH 474 million from cigarettes and tobacco products for electrical heating excise duties due to the blockage by the tobacco companies making necessary changes. On the same way, tobacco corporations blocked the equalization of excise duties on tobacco products for electrical heating to the level of cigarettes in 2019, which postponed it until 2021.

We believe that the illegal sop of “Philip Morris Ukraine” in the amount of 10 million looks like a mockery of the public interest, while corporations will be able to receive more than 500 million in just one year through inefficient 2020 decision of the Ukrainian authorities.

 

Excise income from on tobacco products for electrical heating

2016

2017

2018

(a) Actual (estimated) income derived from specific excise duty per kg

3.7 mln uah

35.1 mln uah

176.1 mln uah

(b) Potential revenue if tobacco products for electrical heating were taxed in the same way as cigarettes

18.8 mln uah

138.3 mln uah

650.3 mln uah

Lost excise tax revenue = (b) – (a)

15,1 mln uah

103.2 mln uah

474.2 mln uah

Even more cynical adds the fact that tobacco corporation “Philip Morris Ukraine” trying to “donate” money for anti-epidemiological activities while continuing to trade in cigarettes and tobacco products for electrical heating. According to WHO, smokers have higher risk of

  1. get infected with COVID-19

  2. get complications of coronavirus.

The Philip Morris Ukraine donated money for fighting against coronavirus while at the same time they’re not informing on any of its information resources that smokers have a higher risk to catch COVID-19 infection.

The advocacy center “Life” emphasizes: the cooperation of tobacco companies with state authorities directly contradicts with the norms of international and Ukrainian legislation.

According to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and Article 16 of the Law of Ukraine 2899-IV, the ban on advertising, promotion and sponsorship of tobacco products is provided. “Tobacco sponsorship is prohibited, including: providing financial or other support to events, activities, individuals or groups, including political parties or personalities, athletes or sports teams, artists or artistic groups, to tobacco manufacturers or related organizations, schools of all forms of ownership. “

According to the rule of law, the public regards the fact that any assistance  from the tobacco company to a charity fund as a violation of the law and emphasize  to recover financial sanctions by the State Consumer Service in case of confirmation of such violations after the inspection.

State authorities don`t need to cooperate with tobacco companies whose products everyday kills 232 people in Ukraine.

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