2021 WHO FCTC (Framework Convention on Tobacco Control) revealed that there was no tobacco industry interference or attempted influence on policies in Palau within the last reporting period from January 1, 2019, to March 31, 2021.
Although no evidence of interference was found during the reporting period, Palau had experienced such attempted interference in the past tobacco industry offered to help Palau develop tobacco legislation.
Palau’s rating in the 2021 Interference Index was 40 points, with 100 being the lowest in compliance and 1 being the most compliant. Palau did well with 40 points but also reflected the need for further improvement, according to First Lady Valerie Whipps, Chairperson of Palau’s Coalition for a Tobacco-Free Palau during a presentation to media practitioners this week.
Although Palau has several laws covering tobacco, one being the Tobacco Control Legislation, RPPL 8-27, and open government act, Code of Ethics, Tobacco & Alcohol Excise tax, a certain incident that occurred in 2017 involving Customs providing importer of tobacco and other products installment payment for import tax. Even though the event occurred outside of the reporting period, the issue was not deemed resolved during the reporting period and therefore contributed to deductions of points for Palau.
The report cited laws that exist but do not specifically require reporting of tobacco-specific interests such as the Code of Ethics that does not require officials to report specific interests relating to tobacco.
The report also cites a lack of proactive public awareness campaigns by the government on the impact of tobacco.
The FCTC compliance report also had results of the 2017 Global Youth Tobacco Survey which showed that over 34% of youth ages 13-15 were smoking cigarettes and 14.7% were using smokeless or chewing tobacco.
Non-communicable diseases (NCD) as a result of tobacco use continue to represent the largest cost to Palau’s healthcare cost. The excise tax from alcohol and tobacco subsidizes health insurance premiums for 60 years and older and disabled while 10% goes to non-communicable diseases.