Rumored tobacco plan criticized

SMOKING COSTS:John Tung Foundation’s Lin Ching-li said it opposes a surcharge hike because there is no monitoring mechanism for how funds are allocated

Taipei Times
Date: Nov 11, 2015
By: Lee I-chia / Staff reporter

The nation’s premier anti-smoking lobby, the John Tung Foundation, yesterday said that it is against a rumored Ministry of Health and Welfare policy to increase a surcharge on tobacco products.

The Chinese-language China Times reported that the ministry is mulling a proposal to increase the Health and Welfare Surcharge on Tobacco Products from NT$20 to NT$40 because the Executive Yuan adjusted its distribution of the funds, with the National Health Insurance (NHI) to have NT$6 billion to NT$7 billion (US$182.6 million to US$213.1 million) cut from its budget annually.

The report said the NHI estimated that medical expenses for treating diseases caused by smoking accounts for between 6 and 15 percent of the nation’s total medical expense — about NT$50 billion per year, while the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) estimated an increase in income from NT$30 billion to NT$54 billion if the surcharge is doubled, with smoking rates predicted to drop.

Lin Ching-li (林清麗), head of the foundation’s tobacco control division, said the foundation is against the policy because there is no mechanism to monitor how the ministry allocates the funds it collects.     [FULL  STORY]

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