Cigarettes cost more after change in tax system

AFTER a steep price increase of up to S$1 (RM2.10) a pack just four months ago, cigarette prices will climb by another S$0.40 to S$0.60 (RM0.84 to RM1.26) again beginning yesterday. 

This meant that the price of an average pack of cigarettes had jumped by almost 25% since March.  

A pack of 20 Marlboro or Dunhill cigarettes will now cost S$8.30 (RM17.43) instead of S$7.70 (RMRM16.17). In February, it cost S$6.70 (RM14.07). Brands like Pall Mall and London would now sell at S$7.30 (RM15.33), up from S$5.70 (RM11.97) in February.  

The first round of price increases in March was due to the tax on cigarettes, which went up from S$210 (RM441) to S$255 (RM535.50) per kilo. 

The latest round followed a change in the system of taxation – cigarettes are now taxed per stick instead of by weight. 

Previously, manufacturers did not have to pay as much tax on some lighter cigarettes because they weighed slightly less than the average cigarette weight of 1g. 

Under the new system, which came into effect on Tuesday, each cigarette is now taxed at 25.5 cents (RM0.53) regardless of weight. 

Pegging the tax on the number of sticks instead of weight is helpful in dispelling the notion that lighter cigarettes do less harm, said Associate Professor Philip Eng, a member of the National Committee on Smoking Control, a civic advisory body on anti-smoking policies. – The Straits Times/Asia News Network 

  • Another perspective from The Straits Times, a partner of Asia News Network.

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