Mozambique: Overview of tobacco use, tobacco control legislation, and taxation
Publication Source

World Bank Group

Economy status
Low-income economies

Mozambique ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control only in 2017, but some tobacco control policies were already implemented in the country before that. The prevalence of current tobacco use in 2003 was about 40 percent in men and 18 percent in women, while women consumed predominantly smokeless tobacco. Between 2003 and 2011, the level of tobacco use among women decreased: the prevalence of smoking remained at the same level, but the use of other tobacco products substantially declined. However, among men, the prevalence of current cigarette smoking increased. The volumes of annual cigarette sales increased from about 2.5 billion cigarettes in 2006-2010 to about 3.7 billion cigarettes in 2012-2013 and then declined in 2014-2016. Since 2010, the tiered specific excises for cigarettes and mixed (ad valorem and specific) excises for other tobacco have been in place. In 2013, 2014, and 2015, the excise rates were increased. In 2013-2016 combined, tobacco prices in Mozambique increased by 85 percent in nominal terms, or by 27 percent in inflation-adjusted terms. Over those years, inflation-adjusted GDP per capita increased by 14, and so, cigarettes became less affordable. In 2013-2015, the increase in tobacco excise became one of the factors of the price increase, which reduced tobacco affordability and probably reduced tobacco consumption and sales in the country. Tobacco excise revenue increased from 3.2 billion MZN in 2012 to 3.75 billion MZN in 2015. However, all neighboring countries have cigarette prices and taxes much higher than Mozambique. In such a situation, cigarette smuggling out of Mozambique is rather common, while cigarette smuggling into Mozambique is very unlikely. Even in the report commissioned by the tobacco industry, percentage of contraband cigarettes at the Mozambican market was estimated to be only 1-2 percent of total consumption. The following recommendations could provide both public health and fiscal benefits for Mozambique: As the first step, cigarette specific excise rates should be unified for all kinds of cigarettes at the level currently used for hard-pack cigarettes. Then, the unified rate should be annually increased to make tobacco products less affordable over time in order to reduce consumption and prevalence in line with FCTC provisions. The issue of cigarette smuggling should not be used in hindering the implementation of tax and price policies. Increase of cigarette taxes and prices in Mozambique would reduce cigarette smuggling out of the country, and it would reduce tobacco consumption in the neighboring countries. Tobacco control monitoring, including economic information on tobacco products sales, prices, and other indicators, should be much improved in the country to support more precise forecasts of the outcomes of the current and future tobacco control activities.