Just launched: the 2nd Edition of the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard

TCDI logo
REEP & KH E-Newsletter #15: September 2021
October 1, 2021
MOP2-Bulletin_banner
FCA MOP2 Bulletin features the WHO FCTC Knowledge Hub on Tobacco Taxation & Illicit Trade
November 30, 2021
Scorecard Figure

Today, on 8 November 2021, the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois Chicago (UIC) released the second edition of the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard, rating cigarette tax systems in over 160 countries based on international best practices.

The Scorecard shows that governments have made insufficient progress in addressing the world’s leading cause of preventable death, despite established evidence that the most effective tool—tobacco taxation—would reduce smoking and increase revenues.

The global average cigarette tax score has barely risen over the past several years from 1.93 (out of 5.00) in 2014 to 2.28 in 2020. Overall scores have improved in 81 countries, stayed the same in 24 countries, and worsened in 48 countries. Only 75 of the 160 countries for which data are available score 2.50 or higher out of a maximum of five points.

In this edition of the Scorecard, New Zealand and Ecuador scored the highest with scores of 4.63, followed by United Kingdom and Canada, with scores of 4.38 and 4.25, respectively.

From 2018 to 2020, cigarette prices increased globally—except most notably in low-income countries, where the tobacco industry seeks to expand its market. There, average prices decreased by $Intl PPP 0.28. Lowering these prices makes cigarettes more affordable and accessible to low-income populations, especially young people.

During the same period, while average cigarette prices rose in the Americas and Western Pacific regions, the average tax share of retail price decreased. Thus, revenues that could be gained by governments through tax increases were captured by the tobacco industry. These regional gains in revenues allow the industry to lower prices in many low-income countries and maintain stable global profits while expanding their market.

The Scorecard’s lead author, Tobacconomics Director, Frank Chaloupka said, “Despite the economic shock caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, the big four multinational tobacco companies are now continuing on a business-as-usual trajectory with stable global profits. Instead of allowing the tobacco companies to capture additional profits while imposing substantial burdens on public health, governments should raise tobacco taxes.”

Following the biennial release of the WHO Report on the Global Tobacco Epidemic, 2021, the Tobacconomics Cigarette Tax Scorecard (2nd edition) uses the newly released data to assess countries’ cigarette tax policies with respect to consistency with the widely accepted best practices of cigarette taxation. The Scorecard is based on four key components: cigarette price, change in affordability, tax structure, and tax share of retail price. The 2021 Scorecard can be found at www.tobacconomics.org.

Contacts: Erika Siu, cc: info@tobacconomics.org

Follow the release on Twitter: @Tobacconomics; @FCTCofficial and @WHO

Scorecard cover