Monday, 30 September 2013
Cigarette Prices Go Up.......!!!
British American Tobacco (BAT) Malaysia has announced a new price increase for its cigarette brands effective 30 Sep 2013. The new price for a pack of 20 cigarettes for Dunhill, Kent and Benson & Hedges will now cost RM12 each. Pall Mall and Lucky Strike Plains will cost RM12.50 and Pall Mall and Peter Stuyvesant will cost RM10.50. The last price increase for BAT cigarette brands was in June 2013. Meanwhile, a taxation expert said excise tax hikes needed to be implemented gradually to avoid destabilising the legal cigarette market. International Tax and Investment Centre president Daniel A. Witt said an increase that was too high implemented over too short a term could shock the market and create a demand for black market goods. “Increasing excise tax should be done in a predictable way to stabilise the legal market, meaning those who can be taxed,” said Witt, who presented the “Asia-11: Illicit Tobacco Indicator 2012” study to the media. Asia-11 is a report on the illicit cigarette trade among 11 countries in 2012. He was speaking on the recent increase of tobacco excise tax of 14% that was gazetted by the Government. Witt said illicit cigarette trade had increased by 40% in the past eight years, caused by the steady increase of tobacco excise tax to its current level of 48%. The report also stated that the Government lost an estimated RM1.9bil in taxes last year and had the third highest consumption levels of illicit cigarettes among the countries surveyed. Meanwhile, Netizens and observers said the price increase would make no difference to smokers here. Facebook user Benjamin Azad said while it was easy to blame tobacco products for health issues, it was unfair to do so.“Why is no one taking action against fast food, processed meats, carbonated drinks or even the cooking oil used in restaurants? This is an unfair judgment,” he said. Steven Lee said trying to curb smoking by increasing the price was pointless as it would “just drive smokers to smoke smuggled cigarettes.” Chief activist of Malaysian Islamic Consumers Association Datuk Nazmi Johan said the price increase, while good, wouldn’t do much to stop people from smoking.