Health advocates want Senate to raise tax on cigarettes
Health advocates on Monday threatened to start a campaign against senators who will oppose the inclusion of higher cigarette tax in the tax reform measure being pushed in the Senate to address tobacco use.
“Those who oppose this measure do not deserve a seat in the Senate in the coming years,” said Benjie Aquino, chair of the UP Diliman student council and member of the Youth for Sin Tax Movement, in a press briefing.
“The increase in tobacco tax must be included in the tax reform program to protect young people from the smoking menace,” he said.
Senators Manny Pacquiao and JV Ejercito earlier filed Senate Bill Nos. 1599 and 1605, respectively, seeking to further increase the excise tax on tobacco products by P60 to P90 per pack from its current tax rate of P30.
Backed by further studies
But Sen. Sonny Angara said that proposals to increase the tax on tobacco need to be backed by further studies.
Dr. Antonio Dans, a convenor of the Sin Tax Coalition and professor of the UP College of Medicine, estimated that there would be one million more smokers by the end of President Rodrigo Duterte’s term in 2022 if the delay in the adjustment of the tobacco tax prevails.
“That’s 200,000 new smokers for every year that we delay a tax adjustment on tobacco, and these new smokers will be composed of mostly rural residents,” he added.
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