The Economics of Tobacco Control Project (ETCP) was housed in the Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit at UCT’s School of Economics between 2011 and 2019. Since July 2019 it has become an independent URC-accredited research unit, called Research Unit on the Economics of Excisable Products (REEP).
The initial aim of the ETCP was to expand current research efforts in the economics of tobacco control and to enhance the knowledge of economic and tax issues among tobacco control advocates and policymakers to strengthen support for tobacco tax and price increases in sub-Saharan Africa. These expanded efforts will increase the quantity and quality of research on the economics of tobacco control in the region, facilitate the growth of a new generation of tobacco control economics researchers and contribute to the creation of a centre of research excellence in sub-Saharan Africa. The mandate of REEP is broader, with additional focus on the economics of alcohol policy and on sugar-sweetened beverages.
The Project has run a number of workshops for researchers, policy makers and NGOs based in Africa. Some of these technical workshops have contributed to significant policy changes. Reducing tobacco consumption is critical as tobacco use is one of the leading causes of premature mortality around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that about 8 million people die prematurely from tobacco diseases each year. A growing proportion of these unnecessary deaths are happening in low- and middle-income countries.
The ETCP/REEP is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) through the African Capacity Building Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the International Development Research Centre, the World Health Organization and the South African Medical Research Council.