DOF exec hopeful e-cigarette tax to pass bicam

MANILA — A ranking Department of Finance (DOF) official is optimistic that lawmakers will adopt the proposal to have a PHP45 excise tax on electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) to fund the universal health care (UHC) program.

This after Albay Rep. Joey Salceda, who chairs the Ways and Means Committee, expressed willingness to support the proposal due to rising health-related cases reportedly caused by e-cigarettes.

Asked for his outlook whether their proposed excise tax rate on vapor products will not be reduced after it received favorable assessment from Salceda, Finance Undersecretary Karl Chua said: “I hope so.”

Chua added the proposed excise tax on cigarette is expected to bring in additional PHP2 billion to PHP2.5 billion to government coffers on the measure’s first year of implementation.

Last week, Salceda said he sees the need to impose excise tax on e-cigarette due to mounting evidence of health risks.

“There’s an increasing evidence that justifies the use of taxation to pursue precautionary principle for national health welfare,” he said.

Members of the House of Representatives already approved House Bill (HB) 1206) imposing PHP40 to PHP60 worth of duties on e-cigarettes, while senators okayed a bill setting PHP10 excise tax on e-cigarette per 10 milliliters (mL) of vaping liquid. Joann VillanuevaPNA-