If you’re a smoker in your thirties, you probably remember the days when R20 got you a box of ciggies with some change to spare.
Those were the good old days. Now there are regulations preventing you from smoking just about everywhere.
And yes, anti-smoking readers, I am aware that it’s a filthy habit, but it’s a habit many of us share all the same.
That’s exactly why, for a lot of folks, the following isn’t going to be good news.
The National Council Against Smoking (NCAS) is lobbying the government to increase the tax on cigarettes by 70%.
Increasing excise taxes is‚ according to NCAS executive director Savera Kalideen‚ the best way to reduce consumption and address the deficit between money spent on prevention versus the treatment of diseases caused by smoking.
The basic idea behind this plan is that expensive cigarettes will deter people from smoking. Higher prices will also, apparently, deter young people from picking up the habit.
“Smokers therefore either cut down or stop completely. This‚ in turn‚ reduces the tobacco-related harm‚ including the burden of disease and death‚” Kalideen said on Wednesday.
“Taxes collected from tobacco sales do not cover the harm caused by the cigarettes they produce — R13bn in tax income versus R59bn in tobacco-related harm‚” she explained.
Kalideen says that she would like the tax collected from the industry to go towards prevention. In particular, she wants to target the illegal cigarette trade.
“An integrated approach with various business units within Sars has led to a seizure of 61.4-million sticks of cigarettes in 2017 during 383 enforcement actions‚” she said.
The proposal is still in its fledgeling phase, so don’t panic just yet.
We’ll keep you updated on where it goes.
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