9 February 2017:
Cigarette consumption in the country declined last year by 1.4 billion packs which revenue authorities attributed to the graphic health warnings printed on tobacco products.
In separate reports submitted to Congress and the Department of Finance, the Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) said cigarette consumption in 2015 totaled 4.6 billion packs but this dropped to 3.2 billion last year.
As a result, the agency said excise tax collection in 2016 reached only P85.9 billion against the previous year’s take of P97.4 billion, or a decline of P11.5 billion.
They said the bulk of the losses were mainly due to the massive slowdown in cigarette consumption.
The same sources said many smokers were discouraged from smoking due to terrifying pictures depicting the harmful effects of tobacco printed on cigarette packs.
“There is no doubt that these printed pictures had forced many smokers to stop the habit,” one source said.
The same source said the intensified government campaign against smoking in public places also contributed to its decline.
The Graphic Health Warning Law was implemented by the Department of Health in March last year.
It required cigarette manufacturers to print any of the 12 templates of people suffering from smoke-related diseases.
Cigarette manufacturers have argued that the government collects huge amount of taxes from the distribution and sale of their products but revenue officials countered that the government is spending more in treating cigarette-induced illnesses.