politics

Health minister wants to hike tobacco tax so pack of cigarettes costs Y700

45 Comments

New Health Minister Yoko Koriyama on Monday suggested that she would like to hike the tobacco tax by 100 yen each year so that a pack of cigarettes would eventually cost 700 yen.

She said that her proposal was not aimed at generating tax revenue but to discourage people from smoking and ultimately lower the nations' health expenditures.

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45 Comments
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You go girl! Who cares what the reasons are, just increase the cost of cigarettes to make it prohibitive to smoke. All the while raking in a nice amount of tax money.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

...also Govt. should start selling JT shares simultaneously.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

that will match the us price they should make it ¥10,000 yen pack

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Yay!!

Please do the same to liquor.

-15 ( +3 / -17 )

oh yes THAT will solve all of Japan's problems. . . (¬▂¬)

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Outlaw the little trucks with loudpeakers running around the neighbour hoods NOT Liquor !!

5 ( +6 / -0 )

Why stop there? Just go straight to 1000 yen.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Great ideal, the addicts will find a way to fund their habit. Nothing more disgusting than a smoker.

-3 ( +3 / -6 )

Make it 1000 yen per pack, no exceptions on any brand. Get with most of the rest of the world. Likewise, make smoking illegal in public places and actually enforce it.

1 ( +5 / -4 )

Globalwatcher, why the hate for alcohol? Perhaps the taxes could be higher, but smoking is much more obtrusive than alcohol!

3 ( +6 / -2 )

As a previous smoker, I am for anything that will deter new smokers. For the ones that are hooked, they will pay whatever it costs, until they are ready to quit.

In fact I say, increase the age limit of buying cigarettes by one year every year. Allowing those, already smoking to continue, while preventing new smokers to begin. There is really no reason to start smoking, the first cigarette of you life does not taste good, it does not make you feel good. All perceived positive effects come only once you are hooked on nicotine.

I just hope it doesn't turn out that Mr. Koriyama got his campaign donations from some large e-cigarette company

3 ( +5 / -1 )

Please note that the health minister is a woman.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If her purpose is to lower health expenditures, then abolutely alcohol taxes should be raised as well. The physical damage caused due to abuse of and addictio to both cigarrettes and booze is long-term and life-threatening.

-1 ( +4 / -4 )

Please note that the health minister is a woman.

Yoko Koriyama. Sorry I missed that. Glad to see that women are getting a chance.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

Ban smoking in public transportation? Fine.

Ban smoking in public buildings? Fine.

Ban smoking in the streets? Fine.

Price hike. No.

But if you own a restaurant or a company, you have the choice to make it non-smoking or not. This is your private decision. Nobody forces you to come to restaurant or work in my company.

Smoking is also your decision. Even the kids when they start smoking, they know what they are doing.

At least that will keep people busy with that bone.

Great ideal, the addicts will find a way to fund their habit. Nothing more disgusting than a smoker.

Yes, that bone.

-2 ( +4 / -6 )

As a former smoker for over 40 years, i think raising the tax is the way to go and also raising the age limit on a year on year basis as suggested by an ealier post.

Luckily after 40 years as a heavy smoker (4 packs a day), i suffer no serious health effects, well none discovered yet anyway, but others are not so lucky i hear.

Smoking is bad and should be gradually phased out of society, giving those already addicted the help needed to quit.

4 ( +6 / -1 )

TumbleDry: "Price hike. No."

It's inevitable, and a very good thing. It'll bring in more revenue and most certainly turn off some smokers. Win win.

"But if you own a restaurant or a company, you have the choice to make it non-smoking or not. This is your private decision. Nobody forces you to come to restaurant or work in my company."

It should not be a private decision at all for any place that caters openly to the public. All eateries and bars should also be 100% non-smoking. That's the case in other nations and it's working just fine, and the atmosphere in such places is undeniably healthier.

0 ( +3 / -4 )

smithinjapan: It should not be a private decision at all for any place that caters openly to the public. All eateries and bars should also be 100% non-smoking. That's the case in other nations and it's working just fine, and the atmosphere in such places is undeniably healthier.

I'll never agree with that. Nobody forces anyone to eat where smoking is allowed. Nobody forces any business owner to have a smoking area. This is a private decision. Sidewalks, public places, public building is fine.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

Smoking like anything if done courtiesly does not have to bother anyone and the smoke can still enjoy their smokes. Still dont understand the Japanese mentality of designated smoking outside...but anywhere ok inside..but whatever.

2 ( +3 / -0 )

I watched her on the news last night. Seems very sharp.

People should not be allowed to drive and smoke either. They are dangerous.

-1 ( +3 / -4 )

'People should not be allowed to drive and smoke either. They are dangerous.' How about texting or just using the ever present mobile phone. How about babies without seatbelts. Smoking is the least of the dangerous things Japanese do while driving. But try enforcing rules about any of those things and watch the them start whining. This is about MONEY and nothing else. Since when did the government in this country care about peoples health. More radiation anyone?

2 ( +5 / -3 )

1500 yen a pack would be better!!!!!

2 ( +3 / -1 )

1500 yen a pack would be better!!!!!

then everyone quits!!! YAY...and the price of everything goes up to counteract the loss of taxes on cigs.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The cynic in me just had to get this out of my system, so just bear with me:

As the health minister, she must be doing this because the government is concerned about the health of the smokers, Right? Of course it could also be that they are trying to decrease the number of cancer cases over the next decades, so that the increase caused by radiation wont show up as clearly. Especially since it seems smokers are more susceptive to radiation in the air (At least for radon and prodigies). This could be a nice way for them to control the numbers.

OK, handing in my tin foil hat now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How about 2000 a pack?? That would eat up a salaryman's daily allowance.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

What a contradiction in terms.

She wants to hike tax by 300 JPY per pack, yet she said that her proposal was not aimed at generating tax revenue..

So what will the JGov do with the billions of extra Yen generated in TAX revenue? Will it be given to charity or donated to those still suffering in Tohoku? Not of course not... It is just an excuse to generate more tax revenue. End of story.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

then everyone quits!!! YAY...and the price of everything goes up to counteract the loss of taxes on cigs.

If government of J could actually keep a PM in office longer than 12 months for once and grow a pair, then they'd raise the Sales Tax which is what they've been talking about doing for ages. Not just for any loss of taxation revenue due to reduced smokers, but to start tackling the Fuji-san sized debt the government owes.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@Tokyokawasaki - If I am not mistaken, the last time the tax on cigs was raised many people in Japan quit, tried to quit, or said if the price got any higher they wouldn't be able to afford their habit/addiction. I take Koriyama-san for her word that the goal is to save money on health expenditures and not on making more tax revenue. I think at 500, 600, or 700 yen, there will definitely be a lot of people quitting! Good news for GSK and other companies making smoking cessation products!

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products is a complete waste of time. How many people, if any, have ever been prosecuted for buying under the age of 20 or selling to under-20s?

I seem to remember reading in JT about a mother being prosecuted for giving her child a cigarette. I also remember that it was news because it was the first time anyone had been prosecuted for that offence.

It seems the the current government is much more likely to crack down on smoking than the LDP, who are closely connected by amukudari with JT (Japan Tobacco, this time) and tobacco farmers, who, like most farmers, support the LDP to protect their interests.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Raising the minimum age for buying tobacco products is a complete waste of time. How many people, if any, have ever been prosecuted for buying under the age of 20 or selling to under-20s?

I seem to remember reading in JT about a mother who was prosecuted for giving her child a cigarette. I also remember that it was news because it was the first time anyone had been prosecuted for that offence.

It seems the the current government is much more likely to crack down on smoking than the LDP, who are closely connected by amukudari with JT (Japan Tobacco, this time) and tobacco farmers, who, like most farmers, support the LDP to protect their interests.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Please do the same to liquor.

NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2 ( +4 / -2 )

As a Canadian ex-smoker whose govt raised prices and made smoking in restaurants and public indoor spaces illegal, I can say that tax hikes merely took more of my money. All the raised taxes did was to lower my previous standard of living and give the government more spending money. To be quite honest, I don't recall any of the ex-smokers I know quitting for anything but health reasons, and the same was true in my case.

If the government plans to farm addicts for tax revenue, they'd better damned well be able to show how they are going to put at least some of those funds into helping the smokers they are exploiting, otherwise this just, well... stinks.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

wolfbisquits,

who you know is not important. The fact is that raising the price of smoking is the only proven way of getting people to kick the nicotine addiction. Information about cancer does little good.

Smokers is Japan are willfully clueless about the dangers of second hand smoke to kids around them. It is amazing to me but understandable as nicotine is a stronger drug than herion to kick. Some parents smoke in the car with their kids, shortening the kids lives along with their own. This proves that a percentage of any population is so weak that they cannot stop doing what is bad for them and the for their families. Hence the price hike as the only means to get them to do the right thing for themselves. Smokers, really, are stupid in the end. Stupid to start smoking and stupid not to figure out how to quit.

Bravo for the DPJ in annoucing this. The LDP is a corrupt smoke filled party that does not care about the costs of smoking in lives or the cost to the rest of society to pay for lung cancer, etc.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

"to discourage people from smoking"

Heck, why raise the tax only on cigarettes, why not raise the price on other health-damaging products and services like fast food, shochu, 3rd-category beer, pachinko ...

3 ( +3 / -1 )

JT (Japan Tobacco) made a statement today that they are against the idea. Demand is down 20% since the tobacco tax was raised last October. I still don't know why people smoke these cancer sticks. Anyway the health minister did say the tax revenue will not decrease even if the price is raised to 700yen per pack.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

to discourage people from smoking

Shove a sparkler down each cigarette. It will discourage smokers and give me a nice laugh when at the bar.

A lame gakuin student got in my face and lit a smoke on the way to the station today. Only his dentist and I were smiling after that - lame boy, can neither smoke nor smile now.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Smokers is Japan are willfully clueless about the dangers of second hand smoke to kids around

them

This is very true. I had ash blown into my 3 month old daughters pram and all over her face once from an a-hole smoking right beside us on the street. My son got jabbed with a lit cigarette (accidentally) on the street and the guy didnt even apologise, just said he should look where he is going (aged 3!) On a hot day when I was heavily pregnant once I sat on a bench with my 5 year old and within seconds 3 women had come up, sat beside me and lit up - I had to move.

I get SO mad when I see adults standing in smoking rooms having a cigarette and they have made their kids come in with them!!! WTF is that???!!! But I guess these are the same adults who will blow smoke in their kids faces at home.

I have no problem at all with smokers - just dont get in my or my kids faces with it (figuratively and literally).

2 ( +3 / -1 )

This is a revenue scam. It takes from people that have an addiction to a drug and feeds off of them. Filthy habit, yes. But, let's not penalize people that want to legally and politely enjoy a smoke. The same goes with alcohol, fast-food, and pachinko. People have bad manners in every facet of society - it's not just a smoking thing. I'm sure those of you on this politicians bandwagon have your own skeletons that make other people annoyed. Don't get all high and mighty on those with addiction problems thinking raising the price will deter them. I call this a gateway tax, that leads to more and heavier taxes in other areas that government deem "unhealthy" for us.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

Go for it... If it cuts future health care costs - great. If it raises more revenue for govt. -even better ( I,d rather govt got more money from an increased tax on tobacco first before raising other taxes ). If it stops more young kids from buying it - perfect.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

So it cuts future health costs but increases the longevity of pension payout. Increased taxes per pack are balanced by a handful of people quitting, more not starting, and others making a pack last longer (by re-lighting a half smoked butt, smoking fewer per day, etc.)

All in all, I don't see a lot of financial benefit.

Still a good idea.

To be most effective, price hikes need to be significant. The small but frequent increments over the past 10 years have been designed along the frog in the pot of water principle. Slap a big tax hike and kids will give up on getting started. People who have been toying with quitting with have an incentive to do it.

Wolfbiscuits, let me be the first on your list of people who quite due to a price hike. It was long ago in Canada. The price suddenly jumped by 20%. Suddenly a pack cost more than my hourly pay, and that crossed a mental barrier. I sat down with a calculator and worked out how much I'd save by stopping smoking, sat down with Auto Trader and figured out what I'd buy for myself after a year of quitting. (In reality, all the savings just went to beer, but I did quit the tabacco!)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

quite / quit. If there were a tax on typing mistakes, I'd be flat broke all the tyme! ;-)

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Patrick Smash, Get carried away when I hear about cigarette price raises. Then again I lost my spouse from lung cancer and he never smoked a day. Am positive it was caused by second hand smoke. He use to work in a place where your vision would be obstructed from all of the smoke.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I could not agree with Yuri Otani any more, she is 100% no 150% correct! Japan, is still so far behind other rich nations in restricting smoking, smokers, smoking areas, smoking advertisements etc..SHIMURA KEN still smokes on his tv shows like he did 20 plus years ago! I like Shimura Ken but I think it is really bad that he smokes on tv, many kids like him and he is setting an example for millions and millions of people here in Japan. So not 700 yen, but heck go for 1,700 YEN per pack of smokes! Them most God awful, disgusting, smelly dirty, low down habit people can have is SMOKING! Yellow teeth, nasty skin, all smelly, I would never ever kiss a woman if she was a smoker! Rather kiss one of those nast buckets full of dirty old cigarettes with water. Yuri, sorry to hear about your husband dying from passive smoke inhalation.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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