By Analou De Vera
A health group has urged the government to raise the excise tax on cigarette packs by P60, stating that it can provide additional revenue as well as it can save lives.
“Tobacco tax is a life-saving measure that can provide resources for this administration’s biggest projects, such as expanding universal health care, building infrastructure and providing free higher education,” said Mary Ann Fernandez- Mendoza, president of HealthJustice group.
The group stated that an increase in tobacco tax will be a viable source of income to the government.
The Healthjustice stated that by increasing the tobacco tax by P60 per pack of cigarettes, it will generate P67 billion in 2018 and an average of P105 billion annually.
“President Duterte can encourage legislators to increase tobacco tax to P60 per pack instead,” Mendoza said.
“[By] doing so, [it] will not only save millions of lives, but also bring to fruition this administration’s plans to make the country a safer, healthier and more comfortable place for Filipinos,” she added.
Recently, the Department of Health bared that tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke contribute to approximately 12 percent of all heart disease deaths worldwide, citing a data from the World Health Organization.
According to the DOH, non-communicable diseases linked to smoking, which are also top causes of deaths and diseases among Filipinos are: cancer, stroke, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, and other heart diseases.