Finance chief says Duterte wants ban on e-cigarette flavors
President Duterte wants to curb consumption of electronic cigarettes through a ban on fruity flavors that attract smokers, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said Tuesday.
“The President has already told me that when the regulation comes out, he wants to make sure that e-cigarettes taste only like tobacco and nothing else,” Dominguez told reporters on the sidelines of The Asset’s 14th Philippine Forum.
“I agree with him [Mr. Duterte], 100 percent. That’s [e-cigarette flavors] a way of hooking people, and addiction is no good,” Dominguez added.
Dominguez said the prohibition on other flavors of heated tobacco products and vapes might be included in the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) of the proposed bill still pending in the Senate seeking to further jack up the excise taxes slapped on nontraditional cigarettes and alcoholic drinks.
“I’m not sure if it can be included in the law, but I’m sure that it can be included by the regulatory bodies, which are the Department of Health and the Department of Trade and Industry,” according to Dominguez.
For Dominguez, increasing the taxes from P10 to around P40 could curb the demand for e-cigarettes.
Besides being a health measure, the higher excise taxes on e-cigarettes and alcohol—or package 2 plus of the Duterte administration’s comprehensive tax reform program—will also generate additional revenues for the government of up to P47.9 billion during its first year of implementation.
The Department of Finance (DOF) had said that incremental revenues from so-called “sin” taxes would augment funding for the Universal Health Care program to be implemented starting next year.
Last year, the DOF was pushing to prohibit the importation and sale of e-cigarettes in the country.
It had also wanted to ban the sale of cigarettes per stick while at the same time including a provision on plain packaging, citing that it was “one of the best tobacco control practices in the world.”
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