Raising Tobacco Taxes: The Philippine Experience

Document Type: Research Articles

Author

Action for Economic Reforms, Inc., Quezon City, Philippines.

Abstract

The 2012 Philippine Sin Tax Reform Law or Republic Act No. 10351 (RA10351) offers important lessons on tobacco taxation and tobacco control. In a span of five years, it increased the excise tax rate on cigarettes to as high as 1000% for low-priced brands. It is recognized by the international community not only because of the magnitude of the tobacco tax increase that it stipulated but also because of the challenging context within which it was achieved. This article presents the Philippine experience as a case study in pursuing bold reforms in tobacco taxation and tobacco control amidst strong opposition by the tobacco industry. It considers: 1) the key events and factors that led to successful reform of the Philippine tobacco tax system; 2) the impact of higher tobacco taxes on health and the economy; and 3) the emerging challenges in tobacco taxation in the Philippines.
 

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