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Tobacco Taxation Policies and Affordability in Turkey Evaluation Note/ TEPAV Tobacco Control Policy Research Team
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09/07/2020 - Viewed 641 times

 

The results of the most recent official health survey in Turkey, announced in June 2020, indicate an increase in tobacco prevalence rate. With 28 percent of adults smoking daily, Turkey currently has the second-highest smoking rate among OECD countries. Given that a health indicator in one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is related to tobacco use, the recent statistics show that Turkey has already diverged from the respective goal.

The adverse health effects of tobacco use and its subsequent economic burden compels countries to implement tobacco control policies. Although Turkey was the first country to adopt all MPOWER measures (declared by the World Health Organization (WHO) to guide policy making) at the highest level, contrary to expectations its smoking prevalence is not decreasing.

This note is related to the effect of taxes (the only price-related measure) on tobacco consumption in Turkey. Currently, the total tax burden on a cigarette is higher than that in the European Union (EU) countries, on average. Despite the high tax burden on tobacco products, people in Turkey continue to smoke. Although contradictory at first sight, the outcome is consistent with economic theory. Consumption decisions are based on final prices, not on taxes paid. They are also based on disposable income. Therefore, it is necessary to analyze the effect of tobacco taxes on consumption by taking the affordability of tobacco products into account.

In this note, we analyze the recent increase in smoking prevalence in Turkey and its relation to total tax burden and affordability. During the COVID-19 outbreak, many people have experienced a loss in their disposable income. TEPAV has conducted a survey to analyze tobacco consumption during COVID-19. Survey results also confirm the decline in income and reveal a strong relationship between affordability and tobacco consumption in Turkey.

 

 

You may read evaluation note from here.


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