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Tax on tobacco needs raising to lower consumption
Friday,  Apr 20, 2018,18:19 (GMT+7)

Tax on tobacco needs raising to lower consumption

HCMC – The Government should hike the tax on tobacco to a minimum of VND2,000 per packet by 2020 so as to cut consumption, and have the tax annually adjusted to ensure the price proportionate to income increase, suggested Doctor Phan Thi Hai, deputy director of the Tobacco Harm Prevention Fund, the Vietnam News Agency reports.

Tobacco prices in Vietnam are increasing slower than pay rise, making it possible for an increasing number of youths and low-income people to spend on tobacco. From 2005 to 2016, income per capita rose nearly five-fold but the tobacco price inched up only 2.2 times.

Dr. Nguyen Tuan Lam, the WHO representative in Vietnam, said prices of tobacco are low due to its low tax. Tobacco tax accounts for 35% of the retail price, much lower than the world average of 56% as well as the rates in other ASEAN countries like Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, at 73%, 66%, and 63% respectively.

If raising the tax by 10% then consumption would decline 4% in developed countries and 5% in developing nations, with even a sharper fall among poor and young smokers, Dr. Lam stressed.

Annually, some 40,000 Vietnamese die young due to smoking and the number may rise up to 70,000 in the upcoming years, according to a report. Some 45.3% smokers are male, in which the poor accounts for a considerable amount.

Poor families spend 5.3% of their incomes on tobacco and this is the root cause of diseases and economic burden, said Doctor Pham Thi Hoang Anh, director of the Canadian HealthBridge Organization in Vietnam.

Besides, most smokers started smoking at a very young age, according to a global investigation on adult smokers in 2015, which pointed out that over 50% of Vietnamese smokers take to smoking before the age of 20.

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