Tobacco excise tax hailed

Health advocates have praised Thailand’s move to increase the tobacco excise tax, but doubt it will reduce the number of smokers.

The Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance welcomed Thailand’s decision to increase the price of domestic packs of 20 cigarettes by 5 to 10 baht.

The Ministry of Finance (MOF) obtained the cabinet’s approval to increase the excise tax on tobacco products on Feb 10, expectingthe excise revenue to increase from 60 billion baht to 70 billion baht this fiscal year.

Sophapan Ratanachena, the group’s programme manager, said Thailand was a good example of a country using sound tax policy to make tobacco products less affordable to consumers to promote public health.

Tobacco tax increases between 1991 and 2013 are attributed to reducing the prevalence of smoking from 32% to 19.9%.

“However, while this is a positive development, Thailand still faces a problem as smokers may switch to cheaper products and brands,” she said.
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