Health Authorities Push Through Taxation Guidelines Behind Closed Doors at Moscow WHO Summit

GENEVA, October 16, 2014 /PRNewswire/ —

“An Alarming Attempt to Erode Countries’ Sovereignty on Taxation Policies” 

Yesterday at the WHO FCTC’s Conference of the Parties (COP6) in Moscow, guidelines on price and tax measures (Article 6) were hurriedly adopted behind closed doors, further demonstrating the FCTC’s habit of infringing on issues of national sovereignty.

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“Public health authorities are not fiscal experts”, said Michiel Reerink, Global Regulatory Strategy Vice President at JTI (Japan Tobacco International). “Yet, one-size-fits-all decisions were rushed in the absence of a vast majority of governments’ taxation experts, who should have the last say on their individual fiscal policies”.

The COP has once again shown a complete lack of respect for several Parties by blatantly ignoring their wish to express their reservations on the guidelines, particularly regarding the minimum benchmark tax of 70% and the allocation of tax revenues to finance tobacco control programs[1]. Two years ago, at COP5 in Seoul, Korea, Parties adamantly opposed the same recommendations. Despite this, the draft guidelines remained largely unchanged and were nevertheless adopted at record speed.

“While the guidelines are not binding for governments, Ministries of Finance will be under pressure to adopt them in their national law.  Yesterday’s decision not only represents an alarming attempt to erode countries’ sovereignty on taxation policies, but also violates COP6’s own requirement to make ‘every effort’ to reach agreement by consensus”, added Mr. Reerink.


1. The FCTC’s October 15, 2014 Journal stated: “Several parties wanted to record their reservations concerning the footnote related to section 3.2 stressing their sovereign right to develop their taxation policies. The draft decision contained in FCTC/COP/6/A/Conf. Paper No. 5 was approved without amendment. The agenda item was then closed.”

When making decisions on tobacco tax policies, countries take into account a number of considerations: income growth developments, the impact of price increases on the affordability of tobacco products, the existence of illegal trade (and tax authorities’ ability to enforce compliance), inflation and regional sensitivities such as cross-border trade.

“Tax experts around the world recognize that ignoring these considerations is counterproductive and could lead to serious consequences, including a major increase in illegal trade, depriving governments of important tax revenues and undermining other government policy objectives – including public health,” Mr. Reerink concluded.

During the October 15 vote on FCTC’s Article 6, the public and the media were once again locked-out from proceedings. This move, combined with the last minute decision to cancel press briefings, further confirms the WHO’s lack of transparency, accountability and integrity.

JTI, a member of the Japan Tobacco Group of Companies, is a leading international tobacco manufacturer. It markets world-renowned brands such as Camel, Winston and Mevius (Mild Seven). Other global brands include Benson & Hedges, Silk Cut, Sobranie, Glamour and LD. With headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland, and about 27,000 employees worldwide, JTI has operations in more than 120 countries. Its core revenue in the fiscal year ended December 31, 2013, was USD 12.3 billion. For more information, visit

Source: JTI (Japan Tobacco International)

First Regulatory Authorisation for Voke® Nicotine Inhaler

LONDON, Sept. 12, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — Kind Consumer today announced that it has received a product licence for the Company’s proprietary nicotine inhaler (Voke Inhaler 0.45mg) for General Sale from the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). This is a key milestone in the journey towards bringing this important innovation to consumers. The next step will be to submit a variation to the licence to support full-scale commercialisation by our commercial partner, Nicoventures Limited.

Dr Chris Moyses, Chief Medical Officer, Kind Consumer, said “We are pleased to announce that the Voke Inhaler has been licensed in the UK as a medicinal product after a detailed review process by the MHRA. It is a great achievement for the team to have successfully navigated the process to marketing authorisation during which we have satisfied all questions raised by the MHRA. The technology contains no electronics, heat or combustion and will rival e-cigarettes and nicotine-replacement therapies when launched.”

Voke is licensed for use to relieve and/or prevent craving and nicotine withdrawal symptoms associated with tobacco dependence. It is indicated to aid smokers wishing to quit or reduce prior to quitting, to assist smokers who are unwilling or unable to smoke, and as a safer alternative to smoking for smokers and those around them.  

The Marketing Authorisation Application comprised pharmaceutical, non-clinical and clinical data on the Voke Inhaler, including a clinical pharmacokinetic study comparing the Voke Inhaler with a commercially available pharmaceutical product. In addition the Voke Inhaler includes a CE marked medical device.

Alex Hearn, Chief Product Officer, inventor of the technology and founder of Kind Consumer commented, ” It took over a decade to design and develop Voke, combining strict pharmaceutical safety standards while retaining the real consumer experience of the product. This invention, promises to make a real difference in offering smokers a safer alternative to smoking.”

Paul Triniman, CEO said, “Achieving the first authorisation for the Voke Inhaler as a licensed medicine is a major milestone for the company. The Voke Inhaler will be commercialised by Nicoventures Ltd., now engaged in ensuring that automated manufacturing capacity will be in place, as well as the marketing plans to bring this advance in nicotine technology to smokers.”

For more information please visit or email 

Notes to Editors: 

Kind Consumer Limited is an independent, London based, company backed by some of the leading names in British Industry including Sir Terry Leahy, Sir Peter Davis and Jon Moulton. Kind develops pioneering products and novel inhalation systems for consumer and medical markets.

Voke Inhaler is a licensed medicinal product that will be available on General Sale List (GSL) in the UK. The Voke inhaler delivers a nicotine formulation via a breath operated valve in a cigarette sized medical device. The Kind technology is protected by over 110 granted worldwide patents and contains no electronics, heat or combustion. The product is the subject of a worldwide exclusive distribution agreement with Nicoventures Limited (For more information please visit

Laffer’s International Tobacco Taxation Handbook Gives Governments Roadmap to Optimize Tax Revenues

LONDON, July 17, 2014 /PRNewswire/ — As excise taxes become increasingly important throughout the world, Dr. Arthur Laffer today released his international tobacco tax handbook, cautioning that “one size does not fit all” in tobacco tax policy and offering governments practical examples and case studies to consider in order to optimize tobacco excise tax revenues. 

“Tobacco taxes represent an essential source of tax revenue for most countries across the globe,” Laffer said during today’s release of his Handbook of Tobacco Taxation – Theory and Practice. “Governments levy excise taxes on tobacco to achieve fiscal and public health objectives. Because the goal of reducing smoking incidence cannot be understated, this handbook is for everyone interested in setting tobacco tax policy as it focuses on using tax as the solution to the tobacco consumption problem.” 

Laffer found that the unique aspects of tax structure and economic environments make taking a blanket approach to tax levels or tax systems unadvisable. Instead, governments should tailor their approach to tobacco taxation, taking into consideration a range of factors.

“It’s important to think twice about the mounting pressure on the international level to create an overarching tobacco tax structure and level for every country across the globe,” Laffer also said.  “One size does not fit all.  Tobacco regulation and taxation are complex matters that require consideration of a number of political, economic, and demographic factors prior to deciding on tax structures and levels.”

The Laffer Curve illustrates the relationship between tax rates and tax revenue. In most instances when tobacco rates are increased, government revenue increases. However, there are increasingly examples of countries, including the UK and Ireland, whose rates have entered the so-called “prohibitive range” of the Curve. 

“When setting tax levels, dramatic increases can be counterproductive,” Laffer said. “Once tax levels are in the prohibitive range of the Laffer Curve, tax revenues will fall.  If consumers shift to lower taxed or black market products, the tax increase may not even lead to less smoking.”

Laffer’s handbook advises governments to construct their tax systems based on four principles.  These include:

  1. CLEAR PRODUCT CATEGORIES – So that revenue is not lost in “loophole products,” setting precise tobacco product category definitions while amending and updating these categories.
  2. SOLID TAX STRUCTURES – The excise tax structure should support stable and predictable collections and ensure, as much as possible, that excise tax increases translate into government tax revenue increases.
  3. CORRECT TAX LEVELS – To prevent consumers from turning to lower priced products on the black market following tax increases, ensure the correct tax level is applied to each category.
  4. EFFICIENT COLLECTION SYSTEM – To minimize administrative burdens on tax payers and tax collectors, and ensure efficient payment of tobacco taxes by all manufactures and importers.