Cheap TTM brand following tax hike

| February 29, 2016

The Thailand Tobacco Monopoly (TTM) will launch a new, cheaper cigarette brand to keep smokers from rolling their own or buying illicit tobacco products due to higher prices from a recently imposed tax hike, reports the Associated Press.

The new brand, which will be slightly smaller in diameter than standard brands, will cost about thb40 ($1.12) a pack and will be launched on April 1. Other brands now range from about thb48 to thb130.

“We are concerned that smokers will choose other alternatives that will severely harm their bodies, such as low-quality hand-rolling tobacco,” TTM Director Daonoi Suttiniphapunt, director of Thailand Tobacco Monopoly was quoted as saying.

“They don’t use good quality material, they use no filters and there is a lot more residue. They might put filters in, but in the process there is usually more residue such as tar and nicotine than in legal cigarettes.”

The TTM plan was denounced by anti-smoking activists.

“All tobacco products are harmful to health regardless of their form or source, whether roll-your-own or manufactured cigarettes, whether legal or illicit,” said Ulysses Dorotheo, a program director for the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance.

“It is a farce to believe that tobacco companies are interested in protecting the health of smokers by promoting the access and use of cheap legal cigarettes.”

After the recent tax hike of about 3 percent, tobacco sales fell and the market size shrank by more than 2 percent, according to TTM.

According to Daonoi, there are between 10.5 million and 11 million smokers in Thailand.

Category: Breaking News

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