“Slap Extra Taxes On Smokers” Says ST Forum Commenter

slap extra taxes on smokers

Why did The Straits Times publish this letter? To provoke promote a discussion?

Mrs Vivien Tan must be out of her mind, despite her good intentions. “An amount of $500 a year could be added to a smoker’s income tax if he is working” – really? How did she derive that figure? And to suggest that smokers should “buy a monthly licence at the post office” otherwise is just ridiculous! The queue at my neighborhood post office is long enough as it is. I sure do not want to see smokers join the queue! Or maybe, Mrs Tan would propose a dedicated queue and counter for smokers? Perhaps she would like to man that counter herself?

She seems to have it all thought out – “Smokers caught without a licence should be fined $20, payable at any ATM”. So they should hang the licence on a chain around their necks? Or do we have NEA officers go up to each person they see smoking and ask for their licence? These officers will also have to inhale second-hand smoke unless they wear masks.😛

Cigarettes are already ridiculously expensive in Singapore. I am not a smoker, but I have seen cigarettes sold in Malaysia and other countries for a fraction of what they cost here. Do we still want to slap on more taxes and be known for having the most expensive  cigarettes in the world?

Besides, I do think that the forbidden fruit is usually the most tempting. The more we try to take cigarettes away from people, the more they want them.

We should just ensure smokers know which places they are allowed to smoke in, and which they should not light up in, such as lifts!

Either we have a complete ban on cigarettes (like we did with chewing gum) or ensure that smokers respect the rights of non-smokers to have clean air. Fines might be necessary but additional taxes are not.

5 thoughts on ““Slap Extra Taxes On Smokers” Says ST Forum Commenter

  1. I don’t agree with taxing or harassing smokers like that, but bear in mind the context of each country’s case. Cigarettes sold in Malaysia are locally produced, as are with many other countries. Being an ex-smoker, I can safely say that comparing cigarettes tried from countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, China, etc – all of which produce cigarettes cheaply – the quality is not the same as Singapore’s imported cigarettes. I doubt quality control is strict, and trust me that in Malaysia, a menthol tastes like a red. And it is the same for many countries. There are even stories that in Indonesia cigarette butts have their filters plucked out, chemically treated to sterilize, and then reused to save on costs. And the filter materials from various cigarette brands produced regionally for their local consumption are also suspect.

    In a way, I don’t condone smoking, but a lot of smokers are utter douchebags who smoke indiscriminately at bus stops, malls, walkways, overhead bridges, void decks, etc. And even when there are young children around. I’ve even seen parents standing with their prams and exhaling the smoke which drifts onto their children, some just probably a year old or not even so. Or how about the teens and young adults who just exhale the smoke as they walk, oblivious to whoever’s behind?

    Besides, why compare to regional countries for the sake of comparing prices? Why not compare in terms of development? Ciggs cost a lot more in Australia, the USA (New York for about US$15.00 a pack, I think), UK, etc.

    • Thanks, Shig. Being a non-smoker, I wouldn’t know cigarette prices elsewhere. I always get asked if I have cigarettes hidden in the car (tissue box, in the glove compartment, etc) when returning to SG from JB, and I do know for a fact that cigarettes are cheaper over the causeway. Like you, I think additional taxes isn’t the way to go. Just makes cigarette smuggling more rampant.

      Fines, yes. I’d love to slap a fine on the inconsiderate neighbors who keep smoking in the lifts in my block.

    • Well, my suggestion is that you might want to write to your MP/RC to install cameras in the lifts that are capable to snapping a shot upon when a smoke sensor is triggered by cigarette smoke.

      Imagine the shocker when the images are posted. Hehheh.

    • Hey Shig,

      Guess what! CCTVs have recently been installed in the lifts! Woohoo! No need to hold my breath while taking the lifts now!😀

    • Whew, I saw this only now.

      Great! At least now you don’t have to. Just hope against getting in there with someone who’s got strong BO.😀

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