Non-Smokers Applaud Cigarette Tax Hike

cigarette The public yesterday continued to welcome the move by the government to raise taxes on cigarettes and tobacco products.

Meanwhile, cigarette dealers and wholesalers could not be reached by the Bulletin yesterday and retailers said they are still waiting for the new price lists from dealers and distributors.

An Indonesian vendor in Gadong, who identified himself only as Lokman, said he is still selling cigarettes at the old prices, adding that the shop only made a profit of 10 cents or 15 cents per pack from cigarette sales.

There has also been no rush by smokers to buy cigarettes since the announcement of the tax hike, he added.

Another vendor, an Indian national, who identified himself only as Ismail, said, “As of yesterday (Monday), the price is still the same. But I’m not sure about the price tomorrow”.

Hjh Haneh, a government officer, hoped that the tax hike would discourage smoking and therefore less allergen would be present in the air which would be good news for those suffering from asthma.

Fendi, a teacher, said some smokers might be furious with the drastic move which was only announced on Sunday while the enforcement took effect yesterday (Monday).

“Smokers would now buy in cartons or cross the border to duty-free shops just to get cheaper cigarettes or go to the black market. Some might smuggle in cheaper cigarette brands like ERA and LA from the neighbouring town.”

Amy, a housewife who quit smoking prior to the announcement also lauded the move.

Rena, a project officer, also welcomed the move but said it could make cigarette smuggling rampant.

Hj Misli, a banker and an ex-smoker, said it was a good move to protect the children. “As we all know, cancer especially lung cancer, is the number one cause of death in Brunei for many years.”

Another smoker said he would have bought in bulk if he knew about the announcement earlier.

“Now I will only bring few sticks if I hang out with my friends or put out a cigarette when I am not smoking so that it could last for one or two hours. If the tax is already $5, I wonder how much the retail price will be. It may cost up to $10 per pack.”

According to a Ministry of Finance press release on Sunday, His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam had consented to amendments to excise duties on cigarettes, tobacco and tobacco products through the Customs Import Duties (Amendment) Order, 2010 and Excise Duties (Amendment) Order, 2010.

Under the new amendments, cigarettes will be subject to a $0.25 tax per cigarette stick compared to the previous $60 per kilogramme, whilst non-manufactured tobacco and tobacco refuse will be subject to duties totalling $60 per kilogramme compared to the previous $30 per kilogramme.

Cigar, cheroots and cigarillos will also see an increase in duties from $60 per kilogramme to $120 per kilogramme and from $100 per kilogramme to $200 per kilogramme.

The press release said that for those arriving in the Sultanate from any point of entry who are over the age of 17 and carrying not more than 200 sticks of cigarettes, in addition to the duty rate imposed, privileges granting duty free concessions are hereby withdrawn and the condition on the importation of those commodities remains.


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