Tobacco Control in Uganda: An Analysis of the Impact of Taxation on Consumption Patterns

This paper’s focus on consumption is driven by the need to monitor, measure and analyse the intensity and distribution trends of tobacco use- considering its health and economic costs. The aim was to generate evidence to inform the design of current and future tobacco taxation reforms. Uganda still has a lot of room to improve its excise duty regime to match the World Health Organization protocol and best practices. More effective tax policies for tobacco control need to eliminate the tiers in the excise tax structure, increase specific tax rates pegged to inflation and aggregate incomes and develop better administration of tobacco substitutes and tobacco products other than cigarettes. In addition to this it is important that the preferential tax rates set for locally produced tobacco and related products are eliminated. Locally manufactured cigarettes are taxed differently from imported ones in a bid to encourage local production. From a health perspective though, they are no less dangerous and should be taxed the same. The data gaps encountered in this paper illustrate the need for more standardized surveys on the prevalence of tobacco use, while the substance abuse sections in the national surveys need to be enhanced. This is necessary for the identification of and construction of useful indices from which the design and impact of tobacco control activities can be based and measured.