Key Steps to Success

Based on the experience of a number of states and countries where dedicated taxes have been installed, a number of key steps to success have been identified:

  • Before beginning, ensure there is a positive political climate. TIMING IS VITAL.
  • Develop a well-planned campaign that has strong leadership and a wide range of supporters.
  • Be clear about how the dedicated tobacco tax is to be used. Offer strong views about the funding mechanisms and administrative structures which would be ideal for the management and allocation of the funds. Prepare draft legislation. Strive towards the ideal models, but be prepared to compromise if this is not entirely attainable.
  • Undertake thorough research to support the case for dedicated tax, concentrating on the health outcomes which will result.
  • Strive for some degree of bipartisan support. This will make the passage of the legislation less difficult and will also facilitate the implementation of the new structures once the legislation is proclaimed. It should also help to ensure the continuation of a tobacco tax should a change of government occur.
  • Work within a short time-frame so that opposing entities do not have time to gather momentum.
  • Ensure that expert information is readily available and that all the facts are correct.
  • Use a professional approach in all activities.
  • Use market research to assess community support for the proposed changes; this may be used as a lever for change.
  • Before drafting legislation, examine that of other jurisdictions. Talk to others about the positive aspects and pitfalls of their legislation and learn from their experience.
  • Be prepared for opposition from the tobacco industry, which will need to be countered efficiently and effectively to ensure success.
  • Set attainable goals. Be prepared to compromise so long as some benefits are gained.
  • Always maintain the high moral ground. Increasing tobacco tax and dedicating part or all of it to health promotion/ tobacco control is about improving health.



World Health Organization. (2004). The establishment and use of dedicated taxes for health. World Health Organization Regional Office for the Western Pacific.

World Health Organization. (2016). Earmarked Tobacco Taxes: Lessons Learnt from Nine Countries. World Health Organization. Geneva.

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