By Umamah Bakharia
Had the government substantially increased the excise tax rather than banned the sale of tobacco products in 2020, it would have achieved a similar public health outcome. It would have received more revenue and presumably not further entrenched in the illicit tobacco market.
This is according to a new study conducted by Kirsten van der Zee, Samantha Filby and Prof Corné van Walbeek of the research unit on the Economics of Excisable Products or Reep, at the University of Cape Town.
In an interview with Radio Islam, Prof Corné Van Walbeek says a survey was conducted on the experiences of South Africans during and after the tobacco ban.
“What we found is that 90% of people were able to access cigarettes and continued smoking during the sales ban period [while] 9/10% of people managed to quit [smoking] at least temporarily during that period,” says Prof Van Walbeek.
Reep argues that increasing the excise tax on cigarettes, which would increase the price of cigarettes, is very effective in reducing consumption.
The Economics of Excisable Products or Reep at the University of Cape Town focuses on investigating how to reduce the risk of tobacco, alcohol, and sugar products to enhance public health.