LIFE and other NGOs have been urging the government to increase tobacco tax rates following a World Bank conference on taxation in Ukraine in March 2015.
“The issue of excise taxes is painful, but in terms of the health of the country, I can’t talk about tobacco taxes separately of the public health policy as this is done in in many countries,” said Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko announcing the increase. “After all we are spending more money from our budget for health care.”
Health reasons cited
According to LIFE, that statement marked the first time the Minister used health reasons, not just economic ones, to justify a tax increase.
The NGO said that attempts to raise the ad valorem tax on tobacco were blocked after strong lobbying by the tobacco industry.
It is generally accepted that raising tobacco taxes is the most effective way to curb consumption and prevent young people form starting to use tobacco.