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Anti-smoking campaigners welcome tax hike on tobacco

By Ahmed Bani Mustafa - Feb 10,2017 - Last updated at Feb 10,2017

A recent Cabinet decision stipulates raising the special tax on cigarettes by JD0.457 to JD1.205 according to the packet price (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — Anti-tobacco movements and activists praised the government's decision on Wednesday to raise the prices of cigarettes, while smokers had mixed reactions. 

The decision stipulates raising the special tax on cigarettes by JD0.457 to JD1.205 according to the packet price.

On Thursday, the Income and Sales Tax Department (ISTD) said that the decision to hike the prices of tobacco and fizzy drinks will not go into effect until an amending by-law on the special tax is passed and published in the Official Gazette, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported.

The ISTD called on vendors to abide by the current prices to avoid legal action.   

Jordanian Anti-smoking Society President and Anti-Smoking Arab Council Secretary General Mohammed Shreem commended the decision, saying the price is the main pillar in the anti-tobacco campaign, the effect of which is proven by international studies.

However, Shreem said, the government should deal with smoking in a holistic approach, taking into consideration the implementation of the Public Health Law and curbing tobacco smuggling, which he expected to increase.

Larissa Al Uar, a founding member and the secretary general of the Tobacco-Free Jordan Association, told The Jordan Times that "raising the taxes on tobacco is a step in the right direction to protect our youth from the claws of the tobacco industry".

“During awareness-raising lectures that the association holds at schools, some students have told us that they started smoking because they could afford to buy tobacco," said Al Uar. 

In addition to the health and social benefits, the decision will contribute to the national economy by reducing public health expenditure, Al Uar said, calling on the government to use the revenues for anti-smoking awareness campaigns and for the treatment of cancer. 

"Many Jordanian smokers quit once they move to countries where tobacco is very expensive," the activist said, citing WHO's statistics that state only 20 per cent of smokers live in developed countries.

Some diseases caused by smoking could only be found among elderly people in developed countries, while in Jordan, they are common among the young population, Al Uar said.

For Amer Nizami, who is a smoker, the decision is of no help to him to quit, but younger people might benefit, as it will be difficult for them to buy cigarettes. 

Anas Shishani, another smoker, expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision, as tobacco is already expensive and children can still buy single cigarettes at affordable prices.

"The price is not everything in the anti-tobacco campaign. In developed countries, income is high, which makes the price less significant without implementing comprehensive health laws and regulations," Shishani added.

 

Mohammad Ajour, however, said he agreed with the decision to raise cigarette prices, noting that tobacco is not an essential commodity.

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Comments

WHAT IS MICHAEL RAMBLING ABOUT BECAUSE I CAN NOT EVEN UNDERSTAND HIS POSITION ABOUT THIS DEADLY POISON WORST THAT CRAK COCAINE AND SO ON. LOOK AT THE THE STATISTICS OF CHRONIC DISEASES IN JORDAN AND TELL ME IF THERE ARE NO CAUSE - AFFECT RELATIONSHIP. ADDICTION IS ADDICTION BUT THOSE RELATED TO TOBACCO IS MORE LETHAL AND DEADLY AND REMAINS THE ONE OF THE PREVENTABLE CAUSES OF DEATH IN JORDAN TODAY. IT USE TO BE SAME ALL OVER THE WORLD BUT YOUR MASTERS DRASTICALLY REDUCED IT IF NOT COMPLETELY ELIMINATE IT BUT DUMP IT TO YOU TO CONSUME AND DEPOPULATE.

"Some diseases caused by smoking could only be found among elderly people in developed countries, while in Jordan, they are common among the young population, Al Uar said"

Really? I wonder if Al Uar would like to specify two or three of those diseases and also tell us how he is defining the word "young" after all the talk in the article about schools and "protecting youth from the claws of the tobacco industry."

Of course he's not going to respond here, but even if he was, I doubt he'd have very good answers to those questions. There are no diseases "common only in elderly people" in developed countries because of smoking that are now common among "young" in Jordan. He'd fudge around about what was meant by common and whether "young people" referred to the children that people are picturing or whether he's talking about people in their forties as though they were 8 year olds.

Basically he'd play with words and numbers in the same sort of misleading fashion that Antismokers all around the world have been encouraged to use in their international conferences to manipulate public opinion back at home while also pushing and grabbing to ensure ever larger amounts of funding for their own organizations and pockets while hiding that grab by pretending it's "to protect the children." If they TRULY wanted "to protect the children" from smoking, why not take the present tax money, particularly any tax money going to organizations like Al Uar's, and focus it on enforcement against sales to those under age 18 or whatever line they want to draw to define children in their society.

Would they support such a thing? Of course not: they want the money. "The Children" is simply the cry that use to get ready access to the smokers' pocketbooks without an upswelling of resentment and rebellion.

Michael J. McFadden
Author of "Dissecting Antismokers' Brains" and "TobakkoNacht -- The Antismoking Endgame" <= My *ONLY* arguable "vested interest" in this issue.

GOD BLESS THE FOOT SOLDIERS OF PUBLIC HEALTH AND IN FACT I WANT TO JOIN THEIR MEMBERSHIP IF ALLOWED TO DO SO GIVEN THE FACT THAT I AM ONLY AN IN LAW WHO IS AN OUTLAW BECAUSE I AM A NON JORDANIAN MAN MARRIED TO A JORDANIAN WOMAN. WHILE WE WELCOME THIS PROGRESS, A LOT MORE NEEDED TO BE DONE NOW OR NEVER NAMELY AS FOLLOW:
1) INCREASE THE PRICE MOE, 2) MAKE SMOKING WHILE DRIVING A CRIMINAL OFFENCE, 3) NO TAXI LICENCE CAN RENEWED UNLES THE OWNNER SIGNS A PLEDGE THAT IF HE IS CAUGHT SMOKING INSIDE A TAXI, HE WILL PAY A FINE OF JD100.000 FOR FIRST OFFENCE, 4) NO PARENT SHALL SMOKE IN ANY HOUSE WITH UNDER AGE CHILDREN, 5) ALL PUBLIC OFFICIALS MUST ABIDE BY THESE RULES TO SHOW EXAMPLE OF GOOD WILL, 6) ALL HOSPITALS AND CLINICS MUST REPORT ANY DOCTOR OR HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONALS WHO SMOKE AND THAT PEDIATRICIANS MUST REMEMBER THAT A SIGNIFICANT PART OF THEIR JOBS IF THE PROTECTION AN CARE OF CHILDREN'S HEALTH WHICH INCLUDES PREVENTIVE MEDICINE. FOR THE ANTI TOBACCO SOLIDIERS, I AM READY AND ABLE TO HELP THEM EVEN TO SUE TOBACCO COMPANIES AND MAKE THEM PAY FOR THEIR PRODUCTS THAT IF USED AS DIRECTED MEANS DEATH AND DISSABILITY.

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