Taipei, March 13 (CNA) A draft amendment that seeks to raise cigarette tax by NT$20 (US$0.64) per pack to help finance the country's long-term care program passed an initial screening at the Legislature on Monday.
The Finance and the Social Welfare and Environmental Hygiene committees passed the initial screening of the draft amendment to the Tobacco and Alcohol Administration Act in a joint meeting.
The amendment seeks to raise the tax on all types of cigarettes from the current NT$590 per kilogram (1,000 cigarettes) to NT$1,590, which translates to a per-pack tax of NT$31.8, up from the current NT$11.8.
Finance Minister Sheu Yu-jer (許虞哲) said the hike is a policy tool to help curb tobacco consumption and promote public health, as well as contribute NT$23.3 billion per year toward the long-term care program.
(By Liu Kuan-ting and Lilian Wu)