African Govt urged to impose environmental tax levies on tobacco


By Blessing Bature, Abuja

World Health Organization (WHO), has tasked African countries on the need to address related environmental damage and redouble its efforts to counter the overall threat post by tobacco consumption, and urged the government to impose environmental tax Levies on tobacco across the value and supply chains, including production, processing, distribution, sales, consumption and waste management as measures to curb its consumption.

WHO Regional Director for Africa, Dr Matshidiso Moeti said this on Monday in Abuja while marking the 2022 world no tobacco day with the theme, “Tobacco: Threat to our environment”, aims to highlight the environmental impact of the entire tobacco cycle, from cultivation, production and distribution, to the toxic waste it generates.

He encouraged countries to accelerate implementation of the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC), which provides the necessary guidance to advance the creation of smoke-free environments, to create programmes to support tobacco users to quit, and support for the application of excise tax and other financial countermeasures.

Moeti said, despite 24 African countries instituting bans on smoking in public places, and 35 banning tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship, our estimates are that one in every 10 African adolescents use tobacco. The emergence of new products, such as electronic nicotine and tobacco products, are also proving attractive to youths, compounding the concerns.

He stated that reducing tobacco consumption is a key catalyst towards realizing the health-related Sustainable Development Goals but, as the environmental evidence illustrates, the benefits go far beyond health.