A campaign to secure the passage of a law that will reform existing Philippine tobacco tax measures and simplify their administration. This, in order to raise enough revenues to meet the government’s targets, prevent a fiscal crisis, and ensure sustainable growth for the country.
Specifically, its aims to nnsure legislation that will:
• Raise tobacco taxes mainly through inflation indexation
• Restructure the taxes on tobacco products by adopting a unitary tax system, and
• Remove the price classification freeze
Smoking poses a heavy burden to the Philippine society and economy.
Approximately 90,000 Filipinos, or about 10 every hour, die from smoking-related diseases. About 200,000 Filipino men would develop smoking-related diseases in their productive years of age, according to the World Health Organization. In 2006, healthcare costs and loss in productivity resulting from tobacco-related diseases cost Filipino taxpayers around US$ 2-6 billion.
Worse, 22.7% of Filipino youth (age 13-15) smoke cigarettes and 8% currently use tobacco products other than cigarettes. More than half of the youth (55%) are exposed to secondhand smoke at home and 65% are exposed to secondhand smoke in public places.
This should compel policy makers to put in place appropriate regulations, including legislation to effectively curb the growth of smoking.
Increasing taxes of tobacco products is the most effective means to reduce tobacco consumption. Well over 100 studies from high-income countries consistently find that a 10% increase in the price of cigarettes reduces overall consumption by 2.5%-5%. The reduction tends to be higher in developing countries, and there is growing evidence that tobacco use among younger persons is two to three times more responsive to price than tobacco use in older persons.
Thus, increasing excise taxes on tobacco products will not only address the economic costs of smoking by curbing the use of tobacco, but will also increase revenues for the government—revenues that are needed for social services and to ensure the country’s development and sustainable growth.