Why increase the sin taxes on tobacco products?
The sin tax bill is urgent because of two key facts: 1) The Philippines is the top smoking country in South East Asia; 2) smoking-related deaths are higher than hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, accidents, typhoons and other natural calamities combined. These are the reasons why the drive to increase sin taxes on tobacco products is urgent in order to avoid a lung cancer pandemic hitting the country in the next 10 years.
Tobacco is causing the country much more to spend than whatever revenue it is generating. Our country is spending some P177 billion in terms of direct and indirect costs for the four leading smoking-related diseases, namely: lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, coronary artery disease and cardiovascular disease.
Let us pray for our senators for enlightenment and guidance. Write to them, call their office landlines which are usually provided in their websites, and make them know how you feel about this issue. Let us make them realize that the proposed senate version of the sin tax bill is not sufficiently “reasonable, realistic and responsible.”