• May 26, 2024

Cambodia urged to increase taxes

Anti-smoking advocates have called on the Cambodian government to raise its taxes on cigarettes, claiming that such measures have brought health and revenue-generating benefits to other countries, according to a story in The Phnom Penh Post.

In a conference in Phnom Penh, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance demonstrated that Cambodia had one of the region’s lowest tobacco tax rates as a percentage of retail prices.

The alliance’s director, Bungon Rithiphakdee, said that higher taxes meant higher retail prices and higher retail prices meant that people were unable to buy cigarettes and smoke.

According to the Asean Tobacco Control Atlas, only Laos beats Cambodia to the lowest rate of tobacco tax as a percentage of retail prices. Cambodia’s rate stands at 20 to 25 percent, while the rate in Laos stands at 16 to 19 percent.

The report singled out Thailand, which was said to have raised its tobacco tax rate 10 times between 1991 and 2012 and to have increased its revenue almost fourfold.

Without quoting any figures, the Post’s story said that smoking went down in Thailand between 1991 and 2012, though the tobacco tax rate had to be bumped up to 87 percent in 2012 to combat a slight increase in smoking.

Meanwhile, Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam apply tobacco tax rates of 40 to 70 percent.