SEATCA Press Release on Singapore’s Tobacco Tax Increase

22 February 2018:

The following is the statement of Ms. Sophapan Ratanachena, Tobacco Tax Program Manager of SEATCA:

“The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance (SEATCA) would like to extend its warmest congratulations to Singapore for its new tobacco tax increase effective 20 February to reduce tobacco consumption.

SEATCA hopes that the current tax increase will have an effect on higher price of cigarettes in order to discourage especially the young from taking up the habit. The previous study of SEATCA on the Relative Income Price (RIP) of Cigarette in ASEAN (2000-2016)[1] showed the declining trend in all ASEAN countries except the Philippines. In Singapore, the trend was increasing from 2012 to 2014 (RIP from 1.76 to 1.86 percent). However, from 2014 to 2016, there was a declining trend (RIP from 1.86 to 1.82 percent), which can be interpreted that the population in Singapore only spent 1.82 percent of their GDP per capita to purchase 100 packs of cigarette in the year 2016.

Regularly raising tobacco taxes sufficiently high to make tobacco products less affordable over time is one of the most potent and cost-effective measures to reduce tobacco use and save lives that 181 parties including Singapore have committed to under the global tobacco control treaty, the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Other countries in the ASEAN region must emulate Singapore’s firm commitment to fulfill its obligation to health treaty. Earlier this month, Singapore has banned emerging and imitation tobacco products, such as e-cigarettes. Starting 1 January 2019, it will also raise the minimum age for smoking to 19 and do it progressively every January until 2021 requiring citizens to be at least 21 to smoke.”



Wendell C Balderas, Media and Communications Manager – SEATCA

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SEATCA is a multi-sectoral non-governmental alliance promoting health and saving lives by assisting ASEAN countries to accelerate and effectively implement the evidence-based tobacco control measures contained in the WHO FCTC. Acknowledged by governments, academic institutions, and civil society for its advancement of tobacco control movements in Southeast Asia, the WHO bestowed on SEATCA the World No Tobacco Day Award in 2004 and the WHO Director-General’s Special Recognition Award in 2014.

[1] RIP is the percentage per capita GDP required to purchase 100 packs of cigarettes.