Mongolia has made progress on tobacco control over the past few years. However, over 3800 people needlessly die every year due to poor tobacco control remains high. The cost to society is simply too high. More than 3000 children and 468000 adults continue to use tobacco each day. Around 40.7% of men smoke resulting is approximately 23% of all male deaths being attributable to tobacco use.
In addition to the outsized loss tobacco causes on citizen's health, tobacco also creates huge losses for the government. Tobacco use decreases overall productivity,meaning daily smokers (~41% of men) are less economically productive than they usually would be. Second, tobacco related diseases often require expensive treatments (ex. cancer incidences are highly correlated totobacco use) which causes a high burden on the state health budget that could be used for other priorities. Finally, increased tobacco taxes almost always lead to higher state revenues which can be earmarked for highly effective uses in health or put into the general coffers.
Mongolias current tobacco tax strategy is coming to a close and with an election in the summer of 2020 right now we have a valuable opportunity to put tobacco control on the new parliaments agenda. Our interaction with various civil socieities in Mongolia has shown that there is support for increased tobacco taxes, particularly amongst groups looking to safe guard the health of Mongolias citizens. The Moh and National Centre for Public health are both in support of these measures, but ultimately it will require action from the Ministry of Finance and parliamentary members to take effective action on smoking.Contact us For more information about our work in Mongolia