Guyana: Taxation absent from tobacco control

 PAHO/WHO expert urges action to address this void

THOUGH the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) has been awarded for its strides in tobacco-control measures, PAHO/WHO Director of Non-Communicable Diseases and Mental Health, Dr. Anselm Hennis, has advanced that tobacco taxation is crucial.

On Friday night, the MoPH received the World No Tobacco Day Award conferred on it by the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC) for leading the way in tobacco control in the Region.

Guyana has passed the Tobacco Control Bill in keeping with the convention.

Speaking at the award ceremony Friday night, Dr. Hennis explained that while Guyana is showing prudence in its tobacco-control measures geared at promoting good public health, taxation remains a key measure for tobacco control.

“Cigarettes are addictive; if you never buy them, you never become addicted,” Dr Hennis said, noting that the price of tobacco products will increase due to taxation and adolescents with limited money would not buy cigarettes.

“[This] significantly reduces the number of adolescent smokers, protecting future generations,” he said.

Article Six of the WHO FCTC deals with price and tax measures to reduce the demand for tobacco, but Guyana’s legislation does not address this particular issue. As reported by the Guyana Chronicle in June 2017, it will be addressed soon, however.

Tobacco is the most significant preventable public health threat ever faced by mankind, killing half of its users, the doctor related. He shared too that more than seven million people die each year because of tobacco, where more than six million deaths result directly from tobacco use and around 900,000 due to second-hand smoking.


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