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Potential health impacts of increasing the cigarette tax in Viet Nam

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BACKGROUND: Even after the implementation of MPOWER, Viet Nam's cigarette tax remains only 36% of the retail price. This falls short of the World Health Organization's (WHO's) recommendation that the tax share be 70% of the retail price.

OBJECTIVE: To assess the health impact of different levels of cigarette taxation by estimating the impact on reducing tobacco consumption and smoking-attributable deaths (SADs).

METHODS: A static model was developed based on a previous study by Jha et al. The model calculates the reduction in tobacco consumption, estimating the number of SADs averted and savings in health-related costs. The scenarios for increasing cigarette taxes were aligned with the Viet Nam Tobacco Tax Simulation Model developed by the WHO and the Vietnamese Ministry of Finance.

RESULTS: Four scenarios proposed by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health would prevent an estimated 63 339–581 165 SADs, equivalent to mortality costs of US$577–5296 million. In the ideal scenario, 6 258 361 SADs would be prevented and would save US$57.0 billion. Future young smokers would see the greatest health benefits of increasing the cigarette tax.

CONCLUSION: Increasing the cigarette tax could reduce the substantial health impact of tobacco use, and further result in significant financial savings across society. Viet Nam should support efforts to further increase the cigarette tax following WHO recommendations.
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Keywords: MPOWER; health impact assessment; taxation; tobacco control; tobacco tax

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi 2: Thuongmai University, Hanoi 3: Viet Nam Steering Committee on Smoking and Health, Hanoi, Viet Nam

Publication date: 01 November 2018

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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