Smokers may not have a very happy new year in 2018 as well as in 2019 with the two packages of TRAIN set to change the prices of cigarettes. What used to be sold for Php5 per stick is now retailed at Php7.
An average smoker who consumes eight sticks of cigarette per day spends Php40 last year. Unfortunately, with the implementation of TRAIN, he is supposed to devote Php56 pesos to eight sticks daily.
Smokers’ Spending Before and After Train
Daily – Php40
Monthly – Php1200
Yearly – Php14,000
Daily – Php56
Monthly - Php1,680
Yearly – Php20,160
The numbers above only reflect the spending of those who do not smoke more than seven sticks daily. Imagine how much money is involved for those who consume one pack of cigarette and more every day.
Quitting, Saving and Investing
The World Health Organization considers tobacco taxes as an active control strategy. With the new tax reform law in the Philippines, smokers are obliged to pay Php32.50 more on every pack of cigarette from January 1, 2018, to June 30, 2018. They are also bound to pay Php35.00 more on each packet from July 1, 2018, up to the end of the year.
Instead of complaining about how the government has worsened your agony each time you burn a stick, think about what you can do with the money you can save. Should you decide to quit, you will be keeping around Php20,000 or more every year – an amount enough to start a small retail business or to buy a new laptop for your online gigs. You can also purchase domestic flight tickets for your kids and make their year-end vacations more fun and memorable.
Taxation, Smoking, and Death
One in 10 deaths worldwide is caused by smoking, and the World Health Organization considers taxes as an effective tobacco control strategy implemented by the government. WHO reports that smoking kills more than 7 million people each year around the world. Raising taxes on tobacco, cigars, and cigarettes can prevent illnesses and reduce the number of people dying from diseases related to smoking.
Before complaining about how the new tax law is ruining your budget for your daily smoking habit, here are a few truths you should realize:
• Smokers die 10-14 years earlier than non-smokers
• For every person who dies due to smoking, there are at least 30 others who live with smoking-related health issues
• Cigarettes contain over 4,000 ingredients that produce chemical compounds related to lung damage
• In less than 10 seconds, nicotine reaches the brain and spreads to the body. It has recently been detected in breast milk.
• One million Filipinos quit smoking from 2009-2015 when the Tobacco Tax Reform Law or anti-cancer law was implemented in 2012.
Government regulations have created a positive impact in supporting anti-smoking measures. The Philippines’ TRAIN 2018 is coherent with the six proven actions to reduce tobacco use known as MPOWER promoted by the World Health Organization:
• Monitoring tobacco use and prevention policies
• Protecting people from tobacco smoke
• Offering help to quit tobacco use
• Enforcing bans on tobacco advertising, promotion, and sponsorship
• Raising tobacco taxes
The TRAIN law may have a few disadvantages, but there are also positive impacts that should be highlighted including a more significant chance for smokers to quit their vice and redirect their money to more significant costs. Saving for travel insurance or paying unsettled debts instead of allotting a huge part of your salary to this deadly routine will change your life.