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Think tank capacity building on tobacco economics: experiences and lessons learnt
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  1. Erika Siu,
  2. Frank J Chaloupka,
  3. Evan Blecher
  1. University of Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, USA
  1. Correspondence to Erika Siu, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois, USA; erikas{at}uic.edu

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Introduction

The article describes the Tobacconomics project, ‘Accelerating Progress on Tobacco Taxes in Low‐ and Middle‐Income Countries’ and the capacity building model used by the Tobacconomics team to develop core competencies in economic analysis among think tank partners, whose research is presented in this supplement. Between 2017 and 2019, the Tobacconomics team at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a partner of the Bloomberg Initiative To Reduce Tobacco Use, partnered with 27 policy research institutions (called ‘think tanks’ in this article) in low-income and middle-income countries (LMICs). This supplement contains selected research on the economics of tobacco control from our partners. This overview article describes the capacity building model used by the Tobacconomics team. The article also shares experiences and lessons learnt thus far.

Project overview

This Tobacconomics project, Accelerating Progress on Tobacco Taxes in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (grant number KC 085918) is funded at approximately US$4 million per year by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of the Bloomberg Initiative to Reduce Tobacco Use. (The views expressed in this document cannot be attributed to, nor do they represent, the views of University of Illinois at Chicago, the Institute for Health Research and Policy, or Bloomberg Philanthropies.) The project supports research efforts to establish evidence-based tobacco tax systems. It is a capacity building project, but decidedly issue-specific. Significant increases in cigarette and other tobacco product taxes are the most effective and cost-effective policy for reducing the death, disease and economic consequences of tobacco use. Evidence from numerous countries around the world demonstrates that increases in taxes that raise prices lead current users to quit, reduce consumption among continuing users and are particularly effective in preventing uptake among young people. At the same time, these taxes are an efficient mechanism for increasing government revenue.1–5

The project responds to the need for locally produced and high-quality …

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