Impact of tobacco tax increase in 2016 and 2019 in retail prices in Vietnam
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Vietnam Office of Health Bridge Foundation of Canada, Hanoi, Vietnam
Department of Tax Policy, Vietnam Ministry of Finance, Hanoi, Vietnam
Fundamental Sciences Faculty, Hanoi University of Public Health, Hanoi, Vietnam
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Corresponding author
Le Thi Thu   

Vietnam Office of Health Bridge Foundation of Canada, Hanoi, Vietnam
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A55
Vietnam revised the Excise Tax ET Law in 2014 resulting in an increase of the cigarette excise tax rates from 65% of ex-factory price to 70% in January 2016, and to 75% in January 2019.

The study aims to investigate the impact of ET Law on the cigarette prices at retail market and to compare the prices between locations. The study helps to shape the recommendations to government for its next excise tax reforms in 2019.

Three rounds of tobacco retail price survey were conducted in 2013 (before tax increase), 2016 (after 1st time tax increase) and 2019 (after 2nd time tax increase). Prices of cigarette from 300 retailers each in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City were collected by a questionnaire in each round. Five types of stores located closely to high schools were chosen, including local convenience store, street drinking establishment, street vendor, café, and restaurant.

The average nominal retail price (without adjust to the inflation rate) of cigarettes increased slightly from 2013 to 2016 were 17500VND (0.76USD) to 18100VND (0.78USD) per pack; then continue raising from 2016 to 2019 to 20000VND (0.87USD) per pack. In 2019, the average nominal retail cigarette prices per pack in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh city, rural and urban areas was 20700VND (0.90USD), 19300VND (0.84USD), 17300VND (0.75USD), and 21600VND (0.93USD), respectively. After adjusted by the inflation rates, the average real cigarette prices were increased by -300VND/pack in 2016 and 500VND/pack in 2019.

In 2019, the average nominal retail cigarette price per pack was higher in Hanoi than Ho Chi Minh City and higher in urban than rural. Despite the increase in excise tax in 2014 ET Law, cigarettes are becoming more affordable. Tobacco taxes should be increased at a higher rate and more frequently at least to keep up with inflation and income growth.

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