A new mixed-excise system on cigarettes in line with WHO recommendations has been passed by the Ethiopian Parliament, reports AllAfrica.
In a bid to curb smoking in the country, the Ethiopian Parliament has passed the legislation which see a 30 per cent tax rate on the cost of producing cigarettes and a specific excise rate of ETB 8 (USD 0.25) on each packet of cigarettes, according to AllAfrica.
Before the bill was passed, cigarettes in Ethiopia were among the cheapest globally. This was reflected in the low taxes of 33 per cent paid on the retail price, compared to the worldwide average of 61 per cent. The total tax share will now be upped to around 54 per cent and the WHO believes this increase will reduce the rate of adult cigarette smoking by 10 per cent, as well as increasing tax revenues on cigarettes by 81 per cent to ETB 925 million (USD 28.7 million), reports AllAfrica.
By passing the legislation, the Ethiopian Government is also making a stand against one of the leading causes of cancer and other lung-related illnesses.
"Cancer and other non-communicable diseases are on the rise in Africa," said Dr Boureima Hama Sambo, WHO Representative for Ethiopia. "This ground-breaking new law will significantly reduce cigarette smoking among Ethiopians and save lives. It is a powerful example of how the government, civil society and WHO can work together to enact meaningful change."