Thursday, July 10, 2014

Smoking Gets Costlier; Massive Excise Duty Announced

The Union Finance Ministry today accepted the request of Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan and announced a further hike of specific excise duty on tobacco and related products that are implicated in various malignancies especially lung and oral cancers. While placing the annual budget for this financial year, Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley today announced a hike of 11-72% of the specific excise duty on cigarettes with the presumption that money becomes a deterrent to smoking- an evil that is implicated in lungs, bladder, oesophageal and lots of other carcinomas which also costs a heavy burden on the state exchequer. Excise duty is to be imposed on oral tobacco products like gutkha, khaini responsible for a majority of cancers of the mouth and oral cavity. However, bidi-the cheap and easily available form of tobacco smoking is still out of the ambit of excise duty.
Imposition of the sin tax will raise the prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products and swell the coffers of the government no doubt. But will it actually deter smokers from smoking?