Duterte signs bill on higher tobacco sin taxes

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CNN Philippines Staff

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, July 25) — Cigarettes will soon come at a higher price.

This, after President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed Republic Act 11346, which raises the excise tax on tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

"To address the urgent need to protect the right to health of the Filipino people and to maintain a broader fiscal space to support the implementation of the Universal Health Care Act, the President has signed into law HB no. 8677/ SB no. 2233 Increasing the Excise Tax on Tabacco Products," Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea told reporters.

The government currently imposes a tax of ₱35 per cigarette pack as a part of the Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion (TRAIN) law. The new law will increase these taxes to ₱45 by 2020 to ₱65 by 2023.

A tax of ₱10 per refill of vapor products less than 10 milliliters will also be levied on e-cigarettes.

Proceeds from sin taxes are meant to raise around ₱62 billion for the implementation of the universal health care program, which would expand the coverage of the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth.

Senator Sonny Angara, one of the sponsors of the bill in the Senate, welcomed the signing of the measure.

Aside from funding the UHC law, Angara said, the policy "will also result in a reduction in the number of smokers."

"We want to discourage the youth from taking up smoking and also reduce deaths and disabilities brought about by smoking," the senator said.