Progress in Tobacco Taxation: The Case of Argentina

Abstract: In May 2016, the executive branch of the Government of Argentina ratified Decree 626, which raised domestic taxes on cigarettes from 60% to 75%, amounting to a 50% increase in their average retail price. This measure was promoted by Argentina’s InterAmerican Heart Foundation (FIC Argentina) through a strategy that included conducting local research to assess the measure’s viability and impact; drafting a policy proposal; working in coordination with other national and international civil society organizations; pursuing collaborative incidence activities with key members of the national executive branch; and implementing a communications strategy. The uniqueness of each economic, social, political, and institutional context in the countries of the Region of the Americas makes it necessary to adapt policy to local conditions. The work experience of FIC Argentina serves as a roadmap for other organizations in the Region that seek to promote an increase in taxes on tobacco products or other policies designed to protect public health by adapting international recommendations and local evidence to each country’s specific context. This article presents a series of lessons learned that may prove useful in other countries.