Times of Oman
Tobacco price hike to help cut smoking habit in Oman
September 21, 2016 | 10:51 PM
by Rahul Das/[email protected]
Dr Jawad Al Lawati, senior consultant and rapporteur for the National Tobacco Control Committee at the Ministry of Health, pointed out that the tax on tobacco products has been raised after 17 years.
 
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Muscat: City doctors and experts believe the latest tax hike on the prices of cigarettes could cut smoking rates in Oman.

Read also: Cigarette prices rise by 20 percent in Oman

Buying a pack of cigarettes will now cost 20 per cent more in Oman, after the recent tax hike imposed on tobacco products.

The government has doubled the tax on tobacco products to 40 per cent, reflecting a 100 per cent increase in prices that is aimed at reducing smoking in the Sultanate.



This means if you were earlier paying OMR1 for a pack, you’ll now have to pay OMR1.2.

“Yes, I strongly believe that by increasing the price of cigarettes, the consumption level of smoking will reduce. But that does not mean everyone will quit smoking, but lower income groups will think twice before buying. This seems to be a good move,” said Dr Pradeep Maheshwari, specialist in Internal Medicine at the Atlas Hospital. He also said smoking is very harmful for health and can cause various types of diseases, including cancer. “Some people can even develop cardiovascular and respiratory illnesses so people should refrain from smoking,” he stated.

Members of the National Tobacco Control Committee and Oman Anti-Tobacco Society believe the prices of cigarettes should be raised so that they remain beyond the reach of children. “Countries that had previously raised taxes on tobacco have been able to significantly reduce the impact of tobacco use. The prices should rise significantly so that the children can’t think of buying also,” one of them said.

Dr Jawad Al Lawati, senior consultant and rapporteur for the National Tobacco Control Committee at the Ministry of Health (MoH), pointed out that the tax on tobacco products has been raised after 17 years.

He added that the tax is applicable to all tobacco products that Oman imports. “Nine-five per cent of tobacco products that Oman imports are cigarettes. Very few people use other types of tobacco here in Oman,” he stated.

The higher tax on tobacco was announced after Bahrain raised it in January and Saudi Arabia in March 2016.

Qatar, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait are yet to implement the new taxes.

Al Lawati also hinted that cigarette prices may be increased further. “This is the first raise, the second one will happen soon,” he noted. Smokers, however, said it will hardly make any difference to them. “I think the lower income groups will go for a cheaper brand with the implementation of new taxes,” said Suraj, an expat, who smokes a packet a day.

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