Philippines: DOF to propose higher taxes on e-cigs, vapes; juice flavors to be limited to two

1 August 2019
Richa Noriega

The Department of Finance is proposing to raise taxes on electronic cigarettes and vapes to impose restriction for smokers on Thursday.

Finance Assistant Secretary Antonio Lambino II said in an interview with CNN Philippines’ The Source that DOF is proposing to impose an excise tax on alternative cigarettes that would match the ₱45 tariff per pack of cigarette which will be effective in 2020.

Last month, President Rodrigo Duterte signed Republic Act 11346, which stated that it will raise the tax on cigarettes to ₱45 per pack which will be effective on January 2020.

“A one little pod of 0.7mL is equal to one pack of cigarettes and yet we are taxing one pack of cigarettes starting January 2020 at ₱45 per pack,” Lambino said.

The price rates for the e-cigarettes will be lower at ₱10 for a 10 mL restock of vapor products. The sin tax will increase by 5 percent in the succeeding years.

“So 10 mL is like 10 packs of cigarettes or more and so that’s why we should tax it at parity,” Lambino added.

Limiting vape ‘juice’ flavors

DOF also proposes to regulate the flavors of vape ‘juices’ into regular tobacco flavor or regular menthol flavor.

“We want to bring it to at parity with regular cigarettes and more importantly is to limit the flavors to those that are similar to the regular cigarettes,” Lambino said.

Lambino said that the different flavors of vape ‘juices’ appeal to younger users and it has been linked to the initiation of young people to the habit even abroad.

“We really want to discourage the young Filipinos from taking this up [as a vice] because the nicotine is addictive in either regular cigarette form or in vape form,” he added.

Lambino also discussed the potential effects of using these e-cigarettes and vapes which could provide harmful effects to those users.

“For instance a substance that they put in some of these e-cigarettes that causes what they call ‘popcorn’ lang, constricts the smaller vessels in your lungs and it will lead to conditions that are very similar to Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Diseases (COPD),” he said.

Last month, the Department of Health released an administrative order that sought to ban the e-cigarettes.

“If the substance get in the way of the genes then there might be issues that will come up, well different kinds of diseases due to lack of development in their organs,” Lambino said.

Manila Bulletin