By Chino S. Leyco
As the e-cigarette maker JUUL Labs prepares its entry into the Philippine market this month, the Department of Finance (DOF) said that the San Francisco-based firm will be covered by the new “sin tax” regime.
Amid reports about JUUL’s launching in Manila today, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III said that electronic or vapor cigarettes will be subject to a P10 excise tax rate per 10 milliliter beginning January next year.
“E-cigarettes are already to be taxed,” Dominguez told reporters in a mobile phone message. But he also admitted that while Senate bill 2233 has yet to take effect, vapor and heated tobacco products, will only be subject to “usual safety registrations.”
But e-cigarettes are still subject to the 12 percent value-added tax.
JUUL, which became the most popular e-cigarette in the US controlling 72 percent of the market, is set to be launched today in the Philippines in partnership with JG Summit.
According to JUUL, the introduction of e-cigarettes aims to help “Filipino adult smokers looking to switch from combustible cigarettes.” It is estimated that there are around 16 million smokers in the Philippines.
Earlier, Health Secretary Francisco T. Duque III said that the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) is currently drafting the regulation governing the sale of all battery-operated tobacco devices.
Doque said the FDA may come up with the implementing rules and regulations (IRR) in three-months to six-months.
“The FDA has been tasked to come out with the administrative order for the electronic nicotine delivery system and equally for the electronic non-nicotine delivery system,” Doque said. “We are reviewing it and in no time we will come up with the draft IRR probably in three to six months time.”
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III earlier said that one cigarette firm expressed interest in formally introducing an e-cigarette in the Philippines.