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The Economics of Tobacco Control in Nigeria: Fostering an Effective Tobacco Control Policy Implementation in Nigeria

Tobacco is a significant contributor to the rising global burden of non-communicable diseases. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, the implementation of which is a specific target (3.a) of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, recognizes that raising taxes is the most cost-effective tobacco control measure. However, this measure is underused in many countries.

Nigeria has one of the largest populations of tobacco users in West Africa (approximately 3.5 million people), yet its fiscal policies for tobacco control appear weak. As recently as June 2018, the Nigerian government approved excise tax rates amounting to a tax burden of 17.3% (relative to the 75% benchmark recommended by the World Health Organization). This new tax rate is also far from the 50% benchmark adopted by the Economic Community of West African States, the regional trade bloc.

This project hypothesizes that there is a gap in knowledge among policymakers on the optimal tobacco tax rates and structure for Nigeria. Thus, the project’s goals are to: estimate the optimal tobacco tax rates and structure; assess the economic costs and impact of tobacco use across different groups (women, low-income groups, and sub-national regions); and identify the impact of tax changes on illicit trade as well as cost-effective measures of curbing illicit trade on tobacco products in Nigeria. The findings of this proposed project will therefore provide policymakers with rigorous, quantitative evidence about tobacco tax impacts in the Nigerian context. The project will be implemented by an IDRC-supported think tank, the Centre for the Studies of the Economies of Africa.

This project is funded through the Economics of Tobacco Control Research Initiative, a five-year co-funding partnership between IDRC and Cancer Research UK that was launched in October 2017.

Project ID
Project Status
End Date
24 months
IDRC Officer
Samuel Oji Oti
Total Funding
CA$ 279,346.00
Global Health
The Economics of Tobacco Control Research Initiative
Institution Country
Project Leader
Dr Chukwuka Onyekwena
Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa