June 18, 2021

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The tobacco tax system needs to be changed to encourage tobacco cessation

In a webinar on the occasion of World No Tobacco Day, the speakers said that the prices and tax management of tobacco products directly affect the trend of quitting tobacco. ‘Increasing the price and taxes of tobacco products and reducing their receipts’ is recognized worldwide as the most effective way to control tobacco. But due to the systemic limitations of taxation, it is not being implemented in Bangladesh. Therefore, changes must be made in the tobacco tax system to reduce tobacco use and encourage people to quit.

The webinar was jointly organized by the Economic Research Bureau (BER) of Dhaka University, Bangladesh Anti-Tobacco Alliance (BATA) and Bangladesh Network for Tobacco Tax Policy (BNTTP) on Sunday. Former Chairman of the National Board of Revenue, Prof. Dr. presided over the webinar titled ‘Price and Tax Impact on Quitting Tobacco Use’. Md. Nasir Uddin. The main article was presented by Dhaka University Professor of Economics and Convener of BNTTP. Rumana Haque. Member of Parliament Prof. Dr. spoke. Md. Habibe Millat and Barrister Shamim Haider Patwari, former Governor of Bangladesh Bank Professor. Atiur Rahman, Bata’s coordinator Saifuddin Ahmed, Director General of the Health Economics Unit. Md. Shahadat Hossain Mahmud, National Professional Officer of the World Health Organization. Syed Mahfuzul Haque and Advocate Syed Mahbubul Alam, Technical Consultant of The Union.

Member of Parliament. Habibe Millat said, “I am working to make Bangladesh tobacco free by 2040 as announced by the Prime Minister.” The number of our comrades in Parliament is increasing. It is in the interest of the people of the country to make the country tobacco free. We will surely achieve this through joint efforts.

MP Shamim Haider Patwari said, “According to the announcement of the Prime Minister, we have to do a lot in the coming days to get a tobacco free Bangladesh by 2040.” There is no alternative to imposing a specific tax on tobacco products to protect public health. It has to be done from the next financial year. And tobacco products outside the tax structure should be brought under the tax net.

Dr. Atiur Rahman said there is no alternative to increase the price of tobacco products to make the country tobacco free. There will be a push among consumers by raising taxes several times over current prices. So that they cannot purchase at low prices. It will also discourage young people from smoking.

In the original article, Rumana Haque said that the country follows the advelorem method of taxing tobacco products. The procedure is complex and flawed. So it is not able to reduce the use of tobacco or increase the revenue. On the contrary, the tobacco companies are profiting and the tobacco companies are getting the opportunity to evade taxes. He pointed out that if taxes were levied in a precise manner instead of the advelorem system, tobacco use would be reduced and the government’s revenue would increase.