MANILA - A fresh increase in taxes on tobacco products will help dissuade more Filipinos from picking up the habit, a former health secretary said Wednesday, as she pushed for its inclusion in the first package of the government's tax reform program.
Cigarette prices in the Philippines, at roughly P50 per pack, are among the lowest in the Asia Pacific compared to the equivalent of P300 in Thailand and P500 to P600 in Australia, Esperanza Cabral said.
"More and more new smokers are able to afford cigarettes and smoke them and put themselves at risk a cigarette smoking related illnesses," Cabral told ANC's Early Edition.
Cabral said there might be 200,000 new smokers each year if cigarette taxes are not raised. She said as much as P75 billion could be raised annually if such an increase is made.