The Ministry of Finance has officially confirmed a minimum tax increase of Dhs0.40 to be levied per individual cigarette as of 1 December.
Additionally, water pipe tobacco, ready-to-use tobacco and related goods will be subject to a minimum tax of Dhs0.10.
The Federal Tax Authority (FTA) has confirmed that that cigarette prices would also impose the surcharge tax on electronic smoking devices and sweetened drinks.
The FTA called upon importers, producers and stockpilers of electronic smoking devices that use liquids in such devices need to register for the surcharge tax system ASAP.
Stakeholders may face serious fines for unncessary late or missed registrations.
If you recall, as of October 2017, the UAE imposed an excise tax on all goods detrimental to your health or the environment.
The point why they started this whole thing from the beginning is to reduce the consumption and increase government revenues allocated to cover public service costs.
The tax ranged from 50 to 100% on tobacco and its products, energy drinks and soft drinks.
Dr Sreedhar Sreekumar, who is an internal medicine speciliast at Aster Clinic Karama, hopes this will make more people quit smoking.
He told Gulf News,
“This might be a small step but it is a decisive and positive step towards encouraging smokers to quit the deadly habit. If there is a tax of 0.40 fils per cigarette, for a box of 20, it will mean an increase of Dh8 per box. If an individual is addicted it will mean a substantial financial hole in his pocket. This will definitely prompt some to at least cut down on the number of cigarettes they smoke per day. Many will think of quitting. Of course, with taxes like these, there will obviously be a stubborn few for whom it will make no difference and they will continue to indulge themselves. Overall, any move like this is guaranteed to bring down the incidence of smoking.”
The UAE’s target is to reduce the tobacco consumption from 21.6% to 15.7% for men and from 1.9% to 1.66% among women by 2021.
According to research, smokers who have at least one-four cigarettes per day have a high risk of getting ischemic heart disease and lung cancer.
Currently, over 14.5% of men and 1.3% of women in the UAE are passive smokers.
Quit smoking for your heart and the hearts of those you love.