Wed, Mar 18, 2009 - Page 2 News List

Cigarette prices may vary with new tax

By Jimmy Chuang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Smokers may find the same brand of cigarettes selling for different prices when the new tobacco health and welfare surcharge is introduced, Department of Health (DOH) Bureau of Health Promotion Director-General Hsiao Mei-ling (蕭美玲) said yesterday.

“We will ask tobacco manufacturers to label their cigarettes accurately and clearly, so smokers will know how much surcharge they are paying,” Hsiao said. “However, it is unavoidable that during the transition period for the new surcharge, different prices for the same cigarettes will be seen.”

Hsiao made her remarks during a press conference at the DOH yesterday afternoon. She said the bureau would ensure that no tobacco manufacturers would earn additional profits by hoarding its current products, labeling them with the new surcharge and selling them at a higher price.

“Current products must be sold at current prices that include the surcharge. The new surcharge will be levied and labeled on the first day it becomes effective,” Hsiao said.

Hsiao said that the surcharge would be collected on cigarettes that are imported or manufactured on or after the day the charge is enacted. The legislature approved amendments to Article 4 and Article 35 of the Tobacco Hazards Prevention and Control Act (菸害防治法) on Jan. 11.

The tobacco health and welfare surcharge will be raised from NT$10 per pack of cigarettes to NT$20 per pack, but the DOH has yet to decide when the amendments and the new surcharge will be introduced.

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