The Department of Finance (DOF) has thanked Senate ways and means chairperson Senator Pia Cayetano and House ways and means chairman Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, for their parallel public statements supporting similar tax rates on electronic cigarettes, vapes, heated tobacco products (HTPs) and other electronic nicotine delivery systems and electronic non-nicotine delivery systems (ENDS/ENNDS).
“We would like to thank Representative Salceda for publicly committing to tax ENDS/ENNDS at the same rate as the proposal of Sen. Pia Cayetano. From the start, we have been encouraged by the strong efforts of both chairpersons to push the reform. This time, we are more strongly encouraged because both Sen. Pia and Cong. Joey are now aligned in their proposals,” Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick Chua said.
Chua was referring to Salceda’s remarks last week to the press that, “given the logic of the initial reported ban–precautionary principle–we (the House tax panel) might go for a higher rate (from) ₱25 per milliliter (mL) to ₱45 per mL.”
“Cong. Salceda’s recent pronouncements mean that, if Senate Bill (SB) No. 1074 is passed by the Senate in its present form, there will be no disagreement on tax rates for ENDS/ENNDS during the bicameral conference committee (bicam) talks to iron out possible differences between the Senate and House versions. This could only mean well for the ‘sin’ tax reform as a whole,” Chua added.
The rates Salceda proposed recently are the same rates embodied in SB 1074, which proposes to tax ENDS/ENNDS at parity with cigarette products, following the advice from medical experts belonging to the Sin Tax Coalition that a prohibitive excise tax rate will discourage young Filipinos from smoking or vaping.
“Taxes on HTPs and vapes must be raised to prevent the youth from being enticed to try using these products,” said Dr. Anthony Leachon, co-convenor of the Sin Tax Coalition, which is a group of physicians, civil society groups, and public health professionals.
Leachon cited the 2018 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) that revealed that one in every five vape users in the country is aged 10 to 19.
Both House and Senate versions of the proposal also ban flavors other than mint, menthol, and tobacco, for ENDS/ENNDS, in an effort to discourage consumption among young people.
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