Impact of Tobacco Tax Increases in Latin America

Raising taxes in Latin America presents a unique opportunity to improve public health and create net gains for national economies.

Smoking is the single most preventable cause of disease and death worldwide. As the burden of this reality shifts from upper- to low- and middle-income countries, increasing taxes on tobacco have proven to help reduce cigarette consumption and the related disease burden and mortality. Although most evidence on the impact of such taxes is being generated in other regions, several studies in Latin America have explored changes in demand and the impacts higher cigarette prices have on tax revenues.

What remains to be done is a synthesis - an overview that will quantify all the expected effects of cigarette price increases in Latin America. Most studies to date have focused on smoking rates and health outcomes after a tax increase, or on the economic impact of higher taxes on government coffers. This research will estimate - using two micro-simulation models - the effect of higher tobacco prices through taxation based on the impact on health (life years and quality-adjusted life years gained, disease avoided) as well as the economic impacts from a government and societal perspective.

The research will focus on seven Latin American countries: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru. The hypothesis is that even under the most conservative scenarios, increasing tobacco prices through taxation will benefit both the health of smokers and that of government revenues.

Findings are expected to help policymakers in the health and finance sectors set tax rates with health outcomes in mind. Other expected outcomes include sharing the results with a range of stakeholders in each participating country, presentation of findings through country reports and policy briefs, and publication of results in regional and international journals and newsletters.

Project ID


Project status


Start Date

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

End Date

Tuesday, May 6, 2014


24 months

IDRC Officer

Geneau, Robert

Total funding

CA$ 123,600


North and Central America, South America, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru


Food, Environment, and Health

Project Leader

Professor Andres Pichon-Riviere


IECS - Instituto de Efectividad Clinica Y Sanitaria Asociacion Civil

Institution Country


Institution Website