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Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Cigarette prices could rise

ABU DHABI // An increase in the price of cigarettes came one step closer yesterday as the federal government finished its discussions about raising tobacco taxes.

Cigarette Ash
Burning cigarettes in an ashtray
The Ministerial Legislative Committee examined imposing tax on imports of tobacco and its derivatives, according to Wam, the state news agency.

No details of the law were released and it was not clear whether the consumer or other parties would shoulder the cost. A packet of 20 cigarettes costs from Dh7 to Dh8.

Health authorities have been speaking about raising the cost of cigarettes for at least four years but only an increase of around 50 fils has been noticed.

The Wam statement did not give any indication of when the law might come into effect or who attended the meeting. It said the change in tax would mean an amendment to a 2003 law which set up the Federal Customs Authority.

In July the head of the country's National Tobacco Control Committee Dr Wedad Al Maidoor said they hoped to raise the price by 29 per cent. The previous year the Ministry of Health threatened to double the cost of cigarettes, but has not taken any action.

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