Philippines 'sin tax' introduced, dampens New Year fun

January 1, 2013

A "sin tax" on cigarettes and alcohol dampened the New Year party spirit when it was introduced in the Philippines Tuesday, as part of a government bid to boost finances.

Many stores started selling tobacco and drink at inflated prices before midnight, ahead of the official implementation of the tax hikes on January 1, hitting partygoers in the pocket.

Tax on cigarettes will gradually be raised to 30 pesos ($0.72) per pack by 2017, roughly doubling the current price to around 52 pesos.

Duty on alcohol will also increase gradually until 2017, increasing the price of a bottle of beer by 23.50 pesos, with varying levels for other drinks including wine and spirits. It will be further increased by four percent each year thereafter.

"The new prices compared to countries like Singapore for example, are still low, but for the ordinary Filipinos they are expensive," said Laudemer Angeles, a 33-year-old shop owner in the town of Bacoor, south of Manila.

"Many of my customers were complaining about the higher prices and were not too happy when they bought their booze and smokes for their parties last night."

Anti-smoking campaigner Emer Rojas said he hoped the new taxes would lead to a gradual decline in the number of people suffering from tobacco-related illness.

"I think the sin taxes should even be raised higher," he told AFP. "But we commend President Aquino for showing his resolve in signing the law."

The government has said that the country of 100 million has the highest incidence of smoking in the region, with tobacco-related diseases costing the country 177 billion pesos ($4.3 billion) last year.

The new taxes aim to raise 33 billion pesos ($800 million) this year alone, gradually increasing over the coming years.

A large percentage of the money will go towards the government's health care programme.

The government first asked to raise taxes on "sin" products as early as 1997, but a strong lobby by stifled change.

The lobby included members of parliament representing tobacco-growing regions as well as powerful cigarette companies that enjoyed one of the lowest tobacco taxes in Southeast Asia.

Explore further: Philippines raises tobacco, alcohol taxes

Related Stories

Philippines raises tobacco, alcohol taxes

December 20, 2012
The Philippines Thursday raised tobacco and alcohol taxes in a reform President Benigno Aquino hailed as helping to liberate "more Filipinos from the vices of smoking and drinking".

Philippines closer to tobacco, alcohol tax hike

November 21, 2012
The Philippines has moved closer to raising tobacco and alcohol taxes, the government said Wednesday after the Senate passed a bill aimed at weaning millions of smokers off the habit.

WHO urges Philippine senate to defy tobacco lobby

July 27, 2012
(AP) — The World Health Organization urged Philippine senators Friday to resist tobacco industry pressure and pass legislation to boost cigarette taxes to help deter smoking in a country where tobacco-related disease ...

States' efforts to boost cigarette taxes slows: CDC

March 29, 2012
(HealthDay) -- Although eight states boosted their sales taxes on cigarettes over the past two years, that's a decline in the number of such increases by states compared to 2009, a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease ...

WHO urges China to bolster tobacco controls

March 20, 2012
(AP) -- The head of the World Health Organization urged China on Tuesday to bolster controls on tobacco in a country where half of adult males smoke.

Recommended for you

To combat teen smoking, health experts recommend R ratings for movies that depict tobacco use

July 21, 2017
Public health experts have an unusual suggestion for reducing teen smoking: Give just about any movie that depicts tobacco use an automatic R rating.

Opioids and obesity, not 'despair deaths,' raising mortality rates for white Americans

July 20, 2017
Drug-related deaths among middle-aged white men increased more than 25-fold between 1980 and 2014, with the bulk of that spike occurring since the mid-1990s when addictive prescription opioids became broadly available, according ...

Aging Americans enjoy longer life, better health when avoiding three risky behaviors

July 20, 2017
We've heard it before from our doctors and other health experts: Keep your weight down, don't smoke and cut back on the alcohol if you want to live longer.

Parents have critical role in preventing teen drinking

July 20, 2017
Fewer teenagers are drinking alcohol but more needs to be done to curb the drinking habits of Australian school students, based on the findings of the latest study by Adelaide researchers.

Fresh fish oil lowers diabetes risk in rat offspring

July 19, 2017
Fresh fish oil given to overweight pregnant rats prevented their offspring from developing a major diabetes risk factor, Auckland researchers have found.

High-dose vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles for children

July 18, 2017
Giving children high doses of vitamin D doesn't appear to reduce the winter sniffles, a new study has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.