Advocates want tax reform that will help prevent bad effects of smoking

  • Anti-tobacco advocates want a tax reform that will help prevent the bad effects of smoking
  • New Vois Association of the Philippines stressed the need to increase tobacco tax rates
  • Group said increasing tax rates will reduce tobacco’s affordability and consumption

Anti-tobacco advocates want a tax reform that will help prevent the bad effects of smoking.

New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP) stressed the need to increase tobacco tax rates to see fewer smokers in the country in the coming years.

“Despite the inclusion of tobacco tax in Package 1 of the TRAIN law, the tax rate applied to tobacco may not reduce the number of smokers but rather even add more smokers,” NVAP President Emer Rojas noted.

“Tobacco tax must be raised to a point that would counter affordability as the purchasing power parity rises. Thus, we hope that a measure will be passed to raise tobacco tax to a more realistic level that would make them not affordable to more,” he added.

Citing the report of the World Bank Group Global Tobacco Control Program, Rojas pointed out that increasing excise tax rates on tobacco will reduce its affordability and, thereby, lower its consumption.

“Faced with tobacco tax rate increases, relatively poorer households adjust their behavior more than richer households. A 50 percent increase in cigarette prices will lead to a 30 to 40 percent decline in tobacco consumption for the poor, which is a much larger decline than among the rich,” he said.

Rojas said they are hopeful that it will not be long before lawmakers consider passing pending bils in Congress, particularly in the Senate.

“We already have pending bills that can adequately make cigarette products less affordable, especially the poor. That way the health of the majority is also secured from this addiction. All we need is the political will to pass such a measure,” he noted.

Senators Manny Pacquiao and JV Ejercito had both filed Senate Bill Nos. 1599 and 1605; to further increase the excise tax on tobacco products by P60 to P90 per pack respectively.

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