Antismoking group hits cheaper cigarettes
Beware of “Splash.”
An antismoking group, the New Vois Association of the Philippines (NVAP), called on the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Sunday to assess the impact of the looming entry of cheaper tobacco products into the local market as its presence could sabotage the sin tax law.
According to NVAP president Emer Rojas, giant tobacco firms Fortune Tobacco and Philip Morris plan to produce cheaper cigarettes called “Splash” to be sold at P2 per stick, a move he said that would give the public a chance to indulge in a bad habit.
“We are worried that having a legal way to sell cheaper cigarettes will render the health objectives of the sin tax law almost useless,” Rojas, a cancer survivor, said in a statement.
He urged the DTI to look into the matter and promote the sin tax reform law, which raised taxes on so-called sin products, like tobacco and alcohol.
The law, which took effect in January 2013, aims to deter young people from taking up smoking and prod smokers to kick the habit. It requires that a portion of the revenue collected from sin taxes go to healthcare and the improvement of medical facilities.
A survey commissioned by the Department of Health revealed that the prevalence of smoking among the youth aged 18 to 24 decreased from 35 percent in December 2012 to 18 percent in March 2014.
“It is the sin tax law’s goal to make cigarette products inaccessible to the people, especially to the poor and the youth. How can having cheaper brands prove helpful to the people’s health?” Rojas said.
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