TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - The Indonesian Consumers Foundation (YLKI) on Friday encouraged Finance Minister Sri Mulyani to not hesitate to increase the cigarette excise in 2021 as the foundation argued it would help boost the country’s economic growth and improve public health.
YLKI chairperson Tulus Abadi believed that smoking increased the risk of someone contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) “as it would trigger the COVID-19 infection among consumers,” he said on October 23.
The link between the viral infection and the habit of smoking was also explained by Indonesian Society of Respirology (PDPI) chairperson Agus Dwi Susanto in a dialogue with the COVID-19 task force on Wednesday, August 12.
The PDPI chairperson explained there were numerous studies around this concern claiming that smokers were two to three times more at risk of contracting the coronavirus compared to non-smokers as smoking would weaken a person’s immune system.
Rumors suggest that the government is preparing to raise the cigarette excise in 2021. However, the Finance Ministry has yet to confirm this. “The government is surely taking careful steps in formulating the tariff policy,” said Heru Pambudi, the ministry’s Director General of Customs on October 19.
The latest increase in cigarette excise announced by the government was in September 2019, which was by 23 percent.