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Smokers, vendors starting to feel pinch of ‘sin tax’

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A vendor sells cigarettes at a supermarket in Quezon City. AFP FILE PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO

Erico Santos, 45, who sells cigarettes under a footbridge on Buendia Avenue in Pasay City, fears the new “sin tax” law that raised the prices of cigarettes may leave him with the short end of the stick, so to speak.

“We are at the end of the line. The manufacturers still earn anyway. But us? We are getting less and less profit from this,” he said, noting that his cigarette sales fell after the sin tax bill was signed into law by President Aquino.

On the streets, cigarettes that used to cost P3 a stick now cost P4. Those who buy cigarettes by the pack will have to pay P3 to P5 more.

Santos himself claims he is in favor of the sin tax law. The prohibitive cost could deter would-be smokers, especially among the youth, he said.  He is just worried that he will lose the lifeline of his business—cigarettes by the stick.

On the other hand, 63-year-old Aling Edita who sells cigarettes and candies on the sidewalk on Shaw Boulevard in Mandaluyong City, said pedestrians still buy cigarettes from her despite the additional cost.

She said other vendors had advised her to start carrying lower-priced cigarette brands. She said the tack seems to work because some customers are simply downshifting to cheaper brands.

The real trends have yet to be felt on the street because vendors have hoarded supplies and workers have yet to come back from the holiday break, according to Marlyn Doria who sells cigarettes at the foot of the LRT station on United Nations Avenue in Manila.

“I was able to buy several boxes of cigarettes in anticipation of the price increase and, besides, there are really fewer buyers during this time because of the long vacation, Doria said in Filipino.

“I think we (vendors) will feel its effect on Monday, when things in this area normalize,” Doria said.

Santos said he used to buy a pack of Marlboro cigarettes for P32, now it’s P40; Philip Morris used to cost P36, now it’s P41; Hope jumped from P30 to P32. The per-stick cost will rise accordingly.

The responses from cigarette smokers were also varied.

A block from Edita’s sidewalk spot, call center agent Rai (last names are withheld) said he had already shifted to a brand that sells for only P27 a pack.

His colleague Fred, who also works for a business process outsourcing firm, said he was trying out an electronic cigarette in anticipation of the higher prices of tobacco products.

An e-cigarette is a tube that gives out nicotine-laden vapor instead of smoke from burning tobacco. It costs over P1,000 in some retail outlets.

He said he had been using the gadget for a week, although he and his friends did some “panic buying” of real tobacco products before the sin tax law was signed.

On Jan. 1, the day the new tax rates became effective, Revenue Commissioner Kim Henares issued a notice to manufacturers and importers of tobacco products and alcoholic beverages advising them to get a copy of Revenue Memorandum Circular No. 90-2012, which lays down the new schedule of sin taxes.

Machine-packed cigarettes are now classified into two instead of four tiers—those with a net retail price (NRP) of P11.50 or less per pack, and those selling above that.

Starting Jan. 1, the excise tax on the lower tier will be P12 per pack, an increase of about 340 percent. The excise tax will increase to P17 in 2014, P21 in 2015 and P25 in 2016.

The higher tier will be taxed P25.This will climb to P27 in 2014, P28 in 2015 and P29 in 2016.

By 2017, the price tier system will be dropped and the excise taxes will be P30 per pack on all brands. With reports from Nancy C. Carvajal and Tina G. Santos


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Tags: BIR , cigarettes , Government , Sin tax law , Smoking


  • $53950194

    I feel sorry for the vendors but it has to be done anyway.  ALL cigarettes should be the same price as they have the same effect when getting cancer or other lung related diseases.

    • Facilitator1

      True. Cigarette smoke negatively affects us all. And based sa mga health experts and professionals, cigarette smoke is much worst to the non-smokers ang cigarette’s “second-hand” smoke. 

      Many pundits/supporters say (probably they’re smokers) that’s their right to do so–but how about my right. Sometimes, inhaling “second-hand” smoke is unavoidable; most specially, if you’re in a public place or using public transportation. 

      IMHO: mura pa nga ang increase ng cigarettes sa PINAS. If I would-be-king for one day, I would increase the price of a stick of cigarette to 100 pesos–that’s being kind and generous. 

      BTW: Creating and drafting a law against smoking in public is an exercise of futility and will be just another source of income for the corrupt/ dishonest/ crooked government officials…PEACE

      • boldyak

        reklamo ka sa smokers pero hindi ka nagrereklamo sa mga tambutso ng sasakyan sa pinas…hahahaha…

      • Facilitator1

        Gustuhin ko man ay hindi paksa ang mga “smoke belchers”. Pero its true, ang mga ito ay masama rin sa kalusugan natin mga PINOY. 

        Kabayan, ang mga past comments mo sa PDI at sa ibang news tabloids parang bang parating wala sa tono. Sabi nga nila, “baka you’re SMOKING something funny…”…PEACE…

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EDXEVEFHW2ZT5VWHDWBNM6XGE4 RyanE

    Even by 2017, the price of cigarettes in the PHL will be comparatively cheaper than in other countries.

    I believe the advantages of the sin tax will offset the disadvantages in the long run.

  • wawa2172

    Cigarette vendor s will be affected by the sin tax but only for the mean time. Masasanay rin ang mga sunog baga sa bagong presyo nang sigarilyo at would start buying cigarettes again as they pleases.

    • ARIKUTIK

      There will be less food on the table of hungry children but the corrupt government will get more money for their secret bank accounts. Taxes kills business no one is benefited except the filthy crocodiles sucking citizens blood. Penoy is corrupt.

  • dequis

    kasi iba sa mga kababayan natin may mga tambutso sa likod karugtong ng mga baga nila kaya sigarilyo pa rin nang sigarilyo nandian man ang sin tax o wala.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_VNLEL6SV5GHRUCLB3WSZVOZCUA RockA

    You drink and smoke you die.  You don’t drink or smoke…you still die.  Better to enjoy the short time you are here.  Get the corruption out of the government and there will be lots of money available for social programs.  How much money is still missing from Marcos rule.

    • TEAM PNOY

      You drink and smoke, you die earlier and you suffer with different forms of cancer while you die. 

  • Jerry_SeinfeId

    Cigarette in the Philippines is still a penny a carton, VERY CHEAP.  Change was not felt at all. Good job ENRILE, this nonsense is all because of you.  SMOKING kills all man most especially the poor.

  • robert000001

    Hell! It’s still very cheap! We need another round of excise tax hike!

  • basilionisisa

    if the headline is true, then it means more money in would-be smokers’ hip pocket, which means more food on their table and more time for their family’s recreation. and some time in the near future, there will be lesser lung-related sicknesses in our public hospitals. i think it’s GREAT!

  • 12JEM

    It is hoped by the govt that the reduction in sales volume will be more than offset by increase in revenue.  Otherwise the target of promoting universal health care will not be easily attained.

  • s1ck0fit4ll

    a pack ni NY costs about $10-15.. mura pa din dito. dapat taasan pa tax sa sigarilyo

    mabawasan din yung mga bastos/skwat na hithit buga kahit saan.. kahit sa public transport

  • robert000001

    Rather than just feel the sin tax hike, the law should have made smokers hate it.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7PILUDK6IPFGJLJNCM2IROCRY Albin

      dapat lahat ng yosi lagyan ng ebs flavor

  • lexmil

    Cigarettes here are indeed cheaper than in the US and neighboring countries.  But has anyone other than me compared the quality of local cigarettes to foreign ones of the same brand.  Mas siksik sa tabacco ang mga cigarette sticks sa ibang bansa. 

  • BawalAngReklamador

    Sus! NAPAKABABA pa rin!!

    Dapat IPAREHAS na ng presyo sa isang KANIN ng isang KARENDERYA ang isang STIK ng sirarilyo..

  • ApoLapullapu

    Mabubuhay najman ang tao kahit hindi naninigarilyo, eh!

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7PILUDK6IPFGJLJNCM2IROCRY Albin

      mas hahaba pa ang buhay kapag hindi nanigarilyo

  • Carum Al Dumal

    Many years ago, I bought a pack of cigs in Canada. Cost around 200 pesos (8 Canadian dollars). Yes, I was a smoker. Quit around 20 years ago and happy I did so.

  • boybakal

    Ang side effect nitong taas ng Sin Tax ay dadami ang mga bakla.
    Imbes na sigarillo, buhay na sigarillo ang uupupin. Darami ang baklang pedophile.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_L7PILUDK6IPFGJLJNCM2IROCRY Albin

      kasi hindi nauubos yang ganyang klaseng yosi.

    • http://profile.yahoo.com/YQRDASE2HXIZ6R4QQ7LETHJTS4 Arvin

      Tanga…out of topic palagi…

      • boybakal

         mas lalo kang tanga…isa ka sa mga naninigarilyo na di na makabili at naging bakla.

  • pedronimo

    The E-cigarette for IK pesos a set is hardly enjoyable. Got to spend an average of 3K to enjoy an e-C and still spend more money on replacing parts and maintenance, Mag-pipa na lang like Popeye  or mag-nganga

  • joerizal

    Mga smokers, itapat niyo na lang yung mukha niyo sa tambutso ng smoke-belcher na bus o jeepney, solved na ang smoking needs niyo…libre pa.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3RMNEZCQQHXWOQRXJROQ2CORFU Homer Guo

    wala akong pake sa mga smokers, nakakangitngit lang na pati kaming hindi naninigarilyo nadadamay sa usok. kung gusto ng smokers na magkasakit/mamatay, kayo nalang. wag na mandamay pa. wag nyo ring gamitin ang pera ng bayan para gamutin kayo sa public hospitals

  • Christine Asonio

    Useless…mura pa rin…

  • bugoybanggers

    Sa malaysia nga mahal ang alak. Bakit kung sa mga PILIPINO aangal? Aba Bisyo nga eh, kung saganon de magtiis! Kung ayaw pakawalan ang walang silbing paghihithit, mag rolyo nalang ng diaryo sabay gawing sigarilyo.. okay lang DIE young ika nga.

  • AJ Giorgio

    mababa pa rin yan… sa ibang bansa nga, hindi pa pwede bumili ng per stick..

  • w33k3nd3r

    Please spare the wine drinkers! Wine’s got health benefits!

    • boldyak

      don’t worry mababa ang tax sa alcoholic drinks, thanks to Danding na tiyuhin ni Pnoy…

  • WeAry_Bat

    Hehe…Cigarette with its manufacture and special chemicals may be more deadly than natural, hand-rolled tobacco.

    Truth is, the price is still within reach for most smokers. 

    Second, I may find it more convenient to use pipes and shaving off only the tobacco I need.  There is no one-half or one-fourth of cigarette, many many times it is only that amount I need.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/SYG36KOOLRY47VA3ICPJJ5CQTQ ADD

    Kayang kaya pa rin bilhin yan, ano ba nman ung 5 pisong dagdag. Dapat 10 piso para ramdam talaga.

    Isunod nman na taasan ang tax sa mga night club katulad ng pegasus.

    Lahat ng bisyo lagyan ng mataas na tax.

    • bugoybanggers

      Isama mo na ang magpapamasahe.. hindi pala iba na ang term..magpapa SPA! yeaks,,, hulika papa! Taasan na rin ang BAYAD tirahin sa TAX. Yari ang sahod ni PARE.. kita naman si MISIS.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_4R3GZTGML26TV2VGS6RVHP2THM Fred

    Ang bisyo ng pag inom at paninigarilyo ay hindi malulunasan sa pamamagitan ng pagtaas
    ng presyo ng alak at sigarilyo. Sa umpisa ay magiging madalang ang pagtoma at pagyosi,
    subalit sa kalaunan ay balik sa dating gawi.

    • $53950194

      Wala naman yatang nabanggit sa RH BILL na malulunasan ang bisyo sa pagsisigarilyo at pag inom pagtaas ng presyo ng mga ito.  Kahit pa P200 pa bawat stick ng sigarilyo kung bibili sila eh di bibili talaga sila.

      Bakit daw sila namamahalan?  Kasi walang pera?  Eh di pag ibayuhin nila ang kanilang sikap para may maigagasto sila sa kanilang bisyo.

  • boybakal

    Sa pagtaas ng presyo ng alak, segurado rubbing alcohol, magigging mabili.

    • GKLer

      Rubbing alcohol = isopropyl alcohol = turns to acetone in your liver.
      Ethanol could also be toxic, because Methanol is commonly added to it.
      Methanol is toxic when consumed = blindness, death.

      Tubig na lang.

      • boybakal

         okey yan terminology mo…yon manginginom di yan inaaalam, basta tamaan o malasing okay na.

  • boybakal

    Yon dahon ng papaya, patuyuin, irolyo sa papel, sigarillo na.
    O kaya punta ng Quiapo, singhotin ang usok ng jeep, sigarillo na.
    Yon rubbing alcohol, lagyan ng tubig, coke, may alak na, 100 proof pa.

    Sa mga Pnoy, be inventive and creative….di katapusan ng mundo.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GYYFBINDMTZHM6TDHPB667452M agustin

    CIGARETTE  SMOKERS CAN NOT QUIT, THE INCREASED IN PRICE IS  LOW, SO SMOKERS STILL HAPPY ABOUT THIS SMALL INCREASE. THE ONLY LIMIT THAT SMOKERS WILL QUIT IF THE PRICE OF ONE STICK IS AROUND 10 PESOS EACH.

  • boybakal

    Sa pagtaas ng presyo ng alak, marami ang mamamatay.

    Unang una, Tuba ang magiging alak. Pag lasing na aakyat sa puno ng niyog para kumuha ng tuba, dahil lasing hulog, patay.
    Second, yon rubbing alcohol gagawing gin bulag, ang tsiser na lang tubig, purong iinumin, sunog ang bituka, patay.

    Nabawasan nga ang legal na manginginom, dumami naman ang illegal na lasenggo.

  • jElly_aCe

    yakang yaka pa rin ng pnoys ang pag taas ng presyo ng yosi, kung ang rason ay pra maging healthy mga pnoys, gawing 15p per stick jst lyk sa US n Canada na sbrang mhal ng yosi kya ang ending dami nag quit at opkors ang insurance pag smokers kaka loka!

  • Paliwaweng

    Sa probinsya, sa mga barrio o bukid, uso pa din yung “binilot” na sigarilyo, may cigarette leaf na durog tapos may wrapper. Yun na lang ang itinda nila sa Edsa hehehe, masasanay din mga ‘adik’ sa nikotina bandang huli, kung paano gumamit.

  • Paliwaweng

    10 taon na akong nabubuhay na walang sigarilyo. Naalis ko yan dito sa Saudi, 1998, will power lang. Sa bandang huli, magpapasalamat pa yung mga makaalis ng paninigarilyo dito sa sin tax law.
    Nakatipid na sila, gumanda pa amoy ng hininga nila……

  • Paliwaweng

    Mas malaki ang matitipid at maiipon ng gobyerno kung mawawala ang paninigarilyo ayon sa statistics.
    Higit daw na malaki ang nagagastos sa health care o sa mga nagkakasakit na dulot ng sigarilyo kaysa sa buwis na ating kinikita sa mga pabrika tulad ng Philip Morris o Hope ni Lucio Tan.

    Mas mababawasan din ang mga pesteng nakakasulasok na amoy sa loob ng jeep o bus na galing sa mga ‘pasaway’.

    This law is a blessing to us, smokers or not.

  • $53950194

    Guys let’s face the fact & the truth, no matter how many excise duty the government will have on cigerettes & alcolhol, kung ang tao magsisigarilyo ay magsisigarilyo talaga yan.  They may complain but they will buy anyway, and that’s the way the system works.  For smokers, stop smoking kung namamahalan ka, IT IS BUT YOUR CHOICE!

    For the vendors, it is business as usual, mahal man basta legal ginagawa natin, ok yan.  If they find the life in big metro very difficult, they still have a choice, they can go somewhere else, like subrural areas and start a new life, as it is cheaper there.  It is still their choice, for a better life!

  • Ferdinand Poe

    SIN TAX ON LIQUOR N CIGARETTES ARE NOTHING BUT LIKE OTHER TAXES THAT HAS ADVERSE EFFECT, ALWAYS END TO CONSUMERS AS THE EXPONENT OF SACRIFICE/S!!!!!!!!!!!!!!LIKE EVAT, FIRE SERVICE TAX, ROAD USERS TAX, ETC…ETC…ALL JUST BUT END UP TO THE DISADVANTAGE OF THE CUSTOMERS, OWNER OR MANUFACTURER ARE ONLY INSTRUMENT FOR THE COLLECTION AND I BELIEVE THIS ALL BUT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF THE EAST!!!!!!!!

  • Ferdinand Poe

    MARAMI  NA ANG NAGHIHIRAP SA KATIWALIAN NGAYON NAMAN DAHIL SA “INFLUENCE’ NG IBANG MAKAPANGYARIHANG BANSA……WALA NA BANG KAGINHAWAHAN MAKAKAMIT ANG MARALITA TULAD NAMIN SA BANSANG ITO??????????  

  • Pok2

    ANG MAHIRAP, GATASAN NG MAYAYAMAN. TAMA LANG NA MAGING MANG MANG KAYO HABAMBUHAY PARA KONTING BARYA LANG, BENTA NYO BOTO AT KALULUWA NINYO. HAHAHA AT WALA RIN KAYONG KARAPATANG MAG GUD TIME. PANG MAYAMAN NA LANG ITO, PAG NAGKASAKIT KAYO NG MATINDI, SA OSPITAL, ISA LANG KARAPATAN NINYO, ANG MAMATAY. HU HU HU ANG HIRAP MAGING MAHIRAP, WALA KANG KARAPATANG MABUHAY.

  • disqusted0fu

    The laws that Pnoy is signing seems more advantageous for the already rich and  wealthy than for the poor. The rich and wealthy president Aquino appears to be pro rich and anti poor.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/45ADQEWRJLKVRH2ES7J5FTEQY4 You

    malaking tulong ung pagtaas ng presyo para saken. hindi lng nmn kase adults na maninigariyo o nagbibisyo ang maapektuhan kundi pati mga kabataan na nalulong na. tataas to ng 4% kada taon ata or 2-3yrs.. tayo na ang tinutulunga, tayo pang aayaw. pinoy talaga oh..



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