Phl cigarette consumption down – Japan study
Zinnia B. Dela Peña (The Philippine Star) - August 19, 2013 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The government’s anti-smoking campaign seems to have made some headway as total cigarette consumption in the country dropped by at least eight percent following the passage of the sin tax reform law, which raised taxes on tobacco and alcohol products.

Japan Tobacco International (Philippines) Inc. general manager Manos Koukourakis said that while the sin tax measure helped push down smoking rates, the decline was not as steep as projected.

Koukourakis cited two surveys, one on consumers and another that covers retail statistics.  

According to Koukourakis, the consumer survey – which directly asked consumers how they feel after the imposition of the sin tax law – showed that daily tobacco consumption decreased one stick per day from 14.8 sticks to 13.8 sticks.

The other survey done by Nielsen also showed a decline in smoking prevalence in the Philippines from 52 percent to 46 percent. The survey covered smokers whose ages range from 20 to 44 years old.

Koukourakis believes that the rate of smoking could have dropped further to 42 or 43 percent.

He pointed out, however, that the rate of decline is still far from industry expectations.

“The wider reduction in consumption is more or less eight or 10 percent. Why is it not 50? Because there was the influx in the market of brands that sell P1 per stick or less than P20 per pack,” Koukourakis said.

There are more than 30 products selling at this low price point. “This means consumers have more cheaper choices than they had before,” Koukourakis said.

As far as government is concerned, Koukourakis said the sin tax law was a successful legislative measure that would help boost state revenues.

“The government will achieve its financial target so we can appreciate that it is in the right direction. The government in that respect did a good job,” Koukourakis said.

The Bureau of Internal Revenue earlier said it was confident it would hit or even exceed its sin tax collection goal of P33.96 billion this year.

For next year, the government hopes to collect P42.86 billion in incremental revenues. Sin tax collections are seen to grow further to P50.63 billion in 2015, P56.86 billion in 2016, and P64.18 billion in 2017.

According to results of the 2009 Global Adult Tobacco Survey, 17.3 million Filipinos aged 15 years and older are smokers. Of this number, 14.6 million are males.



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