Parliamentary Round Table on Strengthening Tobacco Control in Bulgaria

On Tuesday, February 13, 2024, under the patronage of the Parliamentary Health Committee, the Smoke-Free Life Coalition organized a round table on tobacco control issues at the Bulgarian Parliament. The event was attended by MPs, several deputy ministers of the government, most notably – representatives from the Customs Agency and the Ministry of Finance including the current Minister of Finance Ludmila Petkova, representatives from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Economy, the Ombudsman, UNICEF, WHO, the Consumer Protection Commission, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and many non-governmental organizations.

Four alarming studies and a report were presented. All of them indicated that Bulgaria is regressing rather than making any progress, however small, in the field of tobacco control.

The round table proceeded with the following agenda:

The participants united around the idea that more vigorous tobacco control measures are needed for Bulgaria, and the officials declared their intentions to work to decrease the elevated national tobacco prevalence. The potential of tobacco taxation to raise revenues and provide wider health benefits was exclusively put forward. The position of the responsible revenue authorities was principal support for any tax measures of tobacco control – yet they underlined that the full potential of the tax measures for tobacco control depends on the harmonization of the tax structure with that of the EU, that is, to increase the importance of direct taxation for the Bulgarian Budget.

  • Tobacco Control Sustainability Index – Masha Gavrailova
  • Global Tobacco Industry Interference Index 2023: Bulgaria – Gergana Geshanova
  • Launching Heated Tobacco Products with Misleading Claims of "Increased Safety" and "Reduced Harm" – Pavel Antonov (journalistic investigation)
  • Taxation of Tobacco Products in Bulgaria – Dimitar Sabev