Expert Lauds Tobacco Tax Hike; Wary of Unchanging Smoking Prevalence



Markus Wisnu Murti

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  • TEMPO.CO, Jakarta - Finance Minister Sri Mulyani announced Thursday that the government would introduce a new tobacco excise tax increase of 12.5 percent, which will be effective starting February 2021.

    The news about the tax increase has received positive responses from the Tobacco Control Support Center and the Indonesian Public Health Expert Association (TCSC - IAKMI). However, the chairperson the TCSC - IAKMI, Sumarjati Arjoso, said the move was not ideal enough to reduce the smoking prevalence in Indonesia. 

    “Especially among children and women, as Sri Mulyani planned in her virtual announcement,” wrote Sumarjati in his written statement on December 10.

    He argued that smoking prevalence could only be significantly reduced by increasing cigarette excise tax up to 25 percent, increasing 57 percent of the retail prices of cigarettes, and banning the sales of cigarettes sold in singles. 

    Sumarjati Arjoso also voiced regrets on the cancellation of the excise simplification policy the government, as she believed that simplifying the structure of tobacco excise taxes would have been the ideal instrument to increase state income and reduce cigarette consumption in general. 

    Read: Sri Mulyani: Tobacco Excise Tax Hike to Take Effect in February 2021