Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cambodia’s tobacco tax to go up, slightly

Cambodia’s tobacco tax to go up, slightly

Cambodia’s tobacco tax to go up, slightly

In less than two months, smokers indulging in Cambodia’s inexpensive cigarettes will have to reach a little deeper into their wallets.

Starting in July, the tax on cigarettes will jump from 20 per cent to 30 per cent of the retail price, with a tax base rise from 65 per cent to 85 per cent.

But one advocacy group said the increase would not be enough of a disincentive to encourage smokers to quit or to stop others taking up the habit.

The announcement was made on Friday during ASEAN’s Workshop on Tobacco and Illicit Trade in Manila.

“The department decided to increase the tax to promote residents’ health,” Heng Sothy, deputy chief of the Audit Bureau in the General Department of Taxation, said.

Just last week, the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance called Cambodian cigarettes “dangerously cheap”. A report last year found that Cambodia had the second-lowest taxation rate in ASEAN after Laos.

At $0.58 a pack, popular local cigarette brands in Cambodia and the Philippines have some of the lowest prices in the world. That price could go up to about $0.64, if factoring in the 10 per cent tax hike.

“We are pleased to hear that the government decided to increase tobacco tax,” Mom Kong, executive director of NGO Cambodian Movement for Health, said. “Increasing taxes will mean higher prices and consumption will decline.”

A 2011 World Health Organization report found that nearly 10,000 people die each year from tobacco-related diseases in Cambodia. But according to Dr Ulysses Dorotheo, project director at the Southeast Asia Tobacco Control Alliance, to fully reap public health benefit, taxation must be high enough to hamper affordability. He noted that, at just 30 per cent, the new rate will not mean too devastating a price hike.

An industry group had a different view.

“Any tax increase will have an impact. The price of the product as a whole will go up, and if the price increases, then sales will probably go down, and the revenues for tobacco companies will decrease,” said Um Rottana of British American Tobacco in Cambodia.



  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Cintri strike ends, workers’ contracts to be terminated

    CINTRI (Cambodia) Ltd rubbish collectors who have been on strike for the past 13 days agreed to return to work starting Wednesday evening after the company agreed to terminate their contracts at the end of January next year and provide seniority payments and other benefits to

  • Inmates evacuated, schools closed as flooding takes toll

    Thousands of students in Battambang province missed school while over 1,000 prisoners in Banteay Meanchey province were evacuated because of rain-induced floods in the past few days. Yi Songky, director of the provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport, said floods affected 316 schools in Battambang. Over 200