Law raising sin tax on tobacco signed, vapor products taxed too

By Azer Parrocha

July 25, 2019, 8:02 pm

MANILA -- President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday signed a law raising further the sin tax on tobacco products and imposing excise tax on heated tobacco and vapor products.

Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea confirmed that Duterte signed the tobacco tax hike bill, which he certified as urgent.

Registered as Republic Act No. 11346, the new law also increases the penalties for violations of provisions on articles subject to excise tax, and earmarks a portion of the total excise tax collection from sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol, tobacco, heated tobacco and vapor products for Universal Health Care law.

“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 (House Bill) No. 8677/ SB (Senate Bill) No. 2233 Increasing the Excise Tax on Tobacco Products,” Medialdea said in a message to reporters.

The tobacco tax hike bill increases the rates of the tobacco excise from PHP35 to PHP45 per pack and up to PHP60 in 2023 and added a tax on heated tobacco products and e-cigarettes.

Under the enrolled bill, 50 percent of all collections from tobacco, heated cigarette, e-cigarette, sweetened beverage and alcohol will go to Universal Health Care program.

The enrolled bill was transmitted to Malacañang on June 27.

The Department of Health (DOH) earlier estimated that the tobacco tax hike bill would save the lives of 200,000 Filipinos from the ill effects of smoking. It aims to decrease smoking prevalence to 20 percent by 2023.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 7 million people die from tobacco use annually. About 260,000 of these cases are child deaths caused by inhalation of secondhand smoke. (PNA)