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It’s a wait and see game – smokers and drinkers will discover tax fate on Saturday

The new tax rates for cigarettes and alcoholic drinks come into effect tomorrow but for smokers and drinkers it is a waiting game to find out how much their habit is really going to increase.

Some are suggesting that the price of smoking and drinking will almost double while those who like wine may have to switch to something else they can afford.

Government spokesman Sansern Kaewkamnert was tight lipped about what it would all mean, according to a report on Sanook.

It was unclear whether he actually knew or wouldn’t say. The tax hike has been universally criticized as confusing for the public. Many have said the whole issue has been badly handled.

A graphic poster issued by Thansettakij will concern smokers and drinkers.

The poster indicated that the tax on cigarettes would increase from 3 baht for each cigarette to 5 baht.

That would put 40 baht on a packet of 20.

The tax on spirits is set to increase from 160 baht a bottle to 312.

Beer taxes could rise from 41 baht to 78 baht.

But wine – according to the poster at least – was set to be hit hardest. From a tax of 225 the new rate was now set to be 1,400 baht.

That clearly would obliterate the wine trade but, again, no explanation was forthcoming – the public would just have to wait and see what the reality is tomorrow.

Sanook said that the fundamental reasoning behind the new measures was to raise the health of the Thai people.

Sanook

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