SINGAPORE – Lawrence Wong, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister announced that Singapore will implement a 15 per cent increase in tobacco excise duty across all tobacco products with effect from 14 February with immediate effect.

He said the increase is expected to generate about $100 million in additional revenue per year.

Lawrence Wong announced the matter during his Budget 2023 speech in Parliament yesterday, added that this move is part of the government’s efforts to discourage the consumption of tobacco products.

With this increase, consumers will have to pay 49.1 cents per stick for cigarette, up from the previous 42.7 cents per stick.

For example, a 20-stick packet of Marlboro cigarettes is now expected to be sold at $15.52, up from the previous $14.

While smokeless tobacco products will see a tax increase from 32.9 per gram to 37.8 per gram.

It is worth noting that the duties for cigarettes and other manufactured tobacco were last raised in 2018 with a 10% increase. Before that, it increased by 10 per cent in 2014.

Excise duty is levied on goods manufactured in or imported into Singapore.

The government has implemented several measures over the years to curb the use of tobacco, such as mandating standardized packaging and enhanced graphic health warnings for all tobacco sold in Singapore.

Additionally, the minimum legal age for smoking has been raised from 19 years in 2019 to 21 years in January 2021.

Soon after DPM Wong’s announcement, netizens found that some grocery shops had immediately raised the price of cigarettes by S$1.50 per pack with immediate effect.

Netizens commented that government could hardly discouraged public from quit smoking as it could “generate revenue” for government

Some netizens reacted that the recent increase imposed by the government is not affecting them as they have already quit smoking.

However, some surmised that the government could hardly discourage smoking as it could generate revenue for the government.

Netizen William Lee wrote:

Netizen Francis Lam said the government has to collect more money by raising taxes to help the people through GST vouchers and Assurance packages; however, the problem is that the assistance will stop, but the taxes, duties and fees will remain unchanged.

Other netizens commented on Straits Times Facebook post, questioned why government did not go further to ban smoking totally.

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