Thursday, January 17, 2013

Thailand to Increase Taxes

Thailand should step by boost excise tax on smoking products as part of attempts to decrease the actual number of cigarette smokers, as taxes on cigarettes do not have positive effect, according to Prakit Vathesatogkit, a leading tobacco advocate. He explained that the improper tax structure between cigarette and tobacco was the most fragile factor in the country's unsuccessful initiatives to minimize the rate of smokers.
The small tax charged on tobacco lead to price discrepancy between cigarettes and tobacco. Thus, anytime the government increases the tax on cigarettes, many cigarette lovers switch to smoking products that are much cheaper or roll their own. The latest review stated that cigarette users spend approximately 586 baht per month purchasing cigarettes manufactured by tobacco companies, but smokers who roll their own smokes spend just 37.5 baht a month. "This is a key aspect in the fiasco over the many years of attempts to decrease the rate of smokers, who currently constitute about 14 million, and half of them roll their own smokes," stated Dr. Prakit, representative of the Bureau of Tobacco Control.
The government's most recent increase in the tax on tobacco products in August resulted in imported tobacco products rising in price by 9-10 baht per package of 20, and 5-6 baht for domestic brands. Imported brands are sold at 90 baht per package while Thai brands are available at 37-85 baht a pack. The government has increased the excise on cigarettes to one satang for every gramme of tobacco. Moreover it lifted the tax on tobacco products to approximately 87% of cost plus one baht per gramme of the cigarette. Nevertheless, the latest rate is still smaller than the upper limit established at 90% of value and three baht per a gramme per cigarette. For instance in 2011, excise on tobacco products and alcohol resulted in 57 billion in earnings based on a single-phase.
A week ago Dr. Prakit joined the Fifth Session of the Conference of Parties to the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control in Seoul. He stated that the 175 participants agreed to establish a requirement to implement tax and price procedures for tobacco regulation requirements under the guideline that an efficient tax program will help minimize tobacco use as well as aid stop dependency among teenagers. It was decided that all participants should increase the efficiency of tax collection on tobacco, mostly to avoid the cigarette industry intervening in tobacco tax policy.