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Archive for December, 2012

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How far should ‘sin taxes’ extend

| December 24, 2012

The Indian government is considering the introduction of another tax on tobacco products and alcohol – a so-called ‘sin tax’.

According to a story in the latest issue of the BBM Bommidala Group newsletter, the designated sin tax would be used to finance part of the health budget during the 12th five-year plan, 2012-2017.

The 12th plan document, which is to be submitted to the National Development Council (NDC) presided over by the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, says that the extra duty could help reduce the consumption of  tobacco and alcohol.

The NDC is scheduled to meet on December 27 to discuss the proposal.

The designation ‘sin tax’ would seem to be problematic. Questions no doubt will be raised as to who gets to decide what is and isn’t a sin (rather than a crime), something that in most places is the province of authorities that play only an advisory role in society.

But if the beliefs of these authorities are to form part of the basis of taxation policy, another question will be: What products or indeed activities will be taxed next?

Tobacco-free generation within reach

| December 21, 2012

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids (CTFK) believes that it is within theUS’ reach to create a tobacco-free generation.

This follows the publication of figures showing that smoking rates declined significantly this year among young people in all three grades interviewed during a recent survey – grades eight, 10 and 12.

But CTFK warned that ‘progress could stall and even reverse – as has happened before – without a strong, sustained commitment by national and state leaders to win this fight’.

The survey, which is conducted by researchers at theUniversityofMichigan’s Institute for Social Research, is released annually by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

For all three grades combined, the percentage who said they smoked any cigarettes in the prior 30 days fell from 11.7 per cent in 2011 to 10.6 per cent in 2012.

Dutch take to smoking ban – slowly

| December 21, 2012

About 57 per cent of theNetherlands’ bars and cafés now observe the country’s ban on smoking, up from 51 per cent in the spring, according to a DutchNews story quoting health ministry inspectors.

About 61 per cent of discos and 88 per cent of cafés that serve food are now smoke free, the inspectors said.

Smoking is banned in all bars, cafés and restaurants with the exception of owner-operated bars of less than 70 square meters that don’t employ other people.

New tax regime signed into law

| December 21, 2012

President Benigno Aquino of the Philippines yesterday signed into law a new tobacco and alcohol tax regime that is expected to raise an additional P33.96 billion during the first year of its implementation, according to a story in The Manila Times.

Of the total additional revenue, P23.40 billion is set to come from cigarettes and P10.56 from alcohol.

In speaking about the new regime, the president sought to reassure nervous tobacco farmers who believe that many growers will be put out of work by the new regime.

Aquino said the new law was an early Christmas gift for Filipinos because its revenues would be used to expand the government’s healthcare program and to provide additional funding for a farmers’ livelihood support program.

Tender opens for retail sales in Hungary

| December 21, 2012

Hungary’s government has published a tender for the retail sale of tobacco, according to an EcoNews story quoting Zsolt Gyulay, chief executive of the National Tobacco Trade Nonprofit.

Gyulay told a press conference thatHungary’s parliament had approved a law in September that established a state monopoly over the retail sale of tobacco products from next July.

So the tender was for concessions to sell tobacco products in shops and retail outlets. The deadline for submitting tender bids is February 13, and the government is due to assess the bids within 30 days.

Indonesian government taking its time over issuing tobacco regulations

| December 21, 2012

Health experts and consumer groups are questioning what they see as the Indonesian government’s tardiness in issuing a tobacco regulation, according to a report in The Jakarta Post.

The government is required by a law issued in 2009 to impose regulations on tobacco products, but it has not yet done so.

The process had become too political, said Tulus Abadi, of the Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) in Jakarta.
Tulus said progress was slow despite the fact that the relevant ministries had already agreed to the contents of a draft regulation.

The time frame for finalizing the regulation remained unclear, he added.