Cigarette smoking will now burn a large hole in your pocket.
The government in the budget proposed an 11-72% hike in excise duty on cigarettes — 72% on cigarettes with length not exceeding 65 mm and 11-21% for cigarettes of other lengths.
A cigarette stick (non-filter below 65 mm) will now cost `1.15 against the earlier price of 0.67 paisa, a rise of 72%. For other categories, including non-filter cigarettes exceeding 65mm cigarette, the new price will be `2.25 against the existing rate of `2.02 per stick, an increase of 11%.
Similar increases have been proposed on cigars, cheroots and cigarillos. Likewise, excise duty is being increased from 12% to 16% on pan masala, from 50% to 55% on unmanufactured tobacco and from 60% to 70% on gutkha and chewing tobacco.
“These are healthy measures and I hope everyone would welcome them from the point of view of human and fiscal health,” finance minister Arun Jaitley said while announcing the proposed increases.
Cigarette prices have gone up by 40-55% in the last two years.
“We are going through the fine print and are yet to seek clarity,” the ITC spokesperson said.