Sin tax law effects: Smokers find way to scrimp on cigarettes, share sticks with friends


While smokers would readily share a stick or two to an acquaintance in the past, these days, smokers have become stingy with their cigarettes, due to higher retail prices brought about by the sin tax law. AFP FILE PHOTO/JAY DIRECTO

DAVAO CITY, Philippines—Forgot to buy your cigarette or did you suddenly run out of a stick to light?


Think twice before asking somebody to hand you one. More likely, fellow smokers would tell you they have run out of sticks, too.


While smokers would readily share a stick or two to an acquaintance in the past, these days, smokers have become stingy with their cigarettes, due to higher retail prices brought about by the sin tax law. 


Prices of cigarettes across all brands have increased by more than 50 percent because of the sin taxes applied to tobacco and alcohol products.


Smokers have become more disciplined in consuming their supply.


Fidel, who has since shifted from Marlboro to Mighty Filters, said he would not mind sharing a stick to a friend, if it happened once.


But he said he would tell a friend he had run out of cigarettes, if his friend kept on asking for a stick.


According to Fidel, a stick of Mighty Filters now costs P2 at retail stores, much higher than what a stick of Marlboro cost in December.


“Marlboro was only P1.75 a stick then (before the sin tax law took effect), Fidel said, adding that the popular brand has been selling for P4 per stick at sari-sari (variety) stores.


Bernie, another smoker, said he used to ask for a spare stick of cigarette from friends whenever he ran out of one but now, he would be ashamed to bother them.


“I understand that cigarettes now cost much higher than before so I could not muster the word to ask a friend if I run out. It’s akin to molesting them already,” he said.


Bernie admitted that he himself had become “kuripot” (stingy) and would even hide the rest of his cigarettes when in a group of acquaintances.


“It’s better this way than flatly turning down somebody if he asks for a stick,” Bernie added.


At the corner of Sandawa street here, a group of tambays had found another way to keep their cigarettes and their friendship.


One of them was overheard telling his three companions that they should pool their P1 together so they could buy two sticks of Fortune menthol, being sold at P2 per stick at the nearby store.


A few minutes later, the Inquirer saw the man returning to where his friends stood and gave the second stick to one of them.


After a few puffs, they handed—almost simultaneously the half-consumed cigarettes to their two other companions.


“Fifty lang ta bay kay mahal ang yosi (Let’s just share the halves, friend, because cigarettes have become too costly),” one of the men said as he handed over what was left of the stick he had lighted earlier.




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  • superpilipinas


    reduction of smokers is starting.

    don’t care if there’s decreased revenue.

    • Constantine

      The real purpose of sin tax law is reduce smoking. That’s all.

      • txtman







      • nicosan

        lols.. have you seen the statistics? Only a handful of people benefit from the tobacco industry when it comes to income… the government spends far more than the income for the hospitalization of poor/middle class citizens who suffer from the effects of cigarette 

      • stupid_me

        Pwede naman iba ang ibenta nila ah? Yang yosi na yan walang pinagkaiba sa shabu at marijuana. Salot sa lipunan. Di na nga nakakatulong, nakakasakit pa!

      • stupid_me

        At wag mong ibahin ang usapan tungkol sa condom. CHOICE nila yan. ok? Kung ayaw mo gumamit, di wag! magpakarami ka

  • simpleng_mamamayan23

    LOL!So true!

  • enteng

    Better stop smoking, save your money for other expenses and for better health!!!!

  • Constantine

    Sharing a puff of cigarette with your friends is a double threat. It is a sure recipe for contracting lung cancer and other respiratory diseases and contracting hepatitis. So, it’s better to quit smoking! You will be healthier and you do not enrich Philip Morris and Lucio Tan! 

  • PasswordFlame

    yan ang pinaka mabilis magpakalat nang sakit,hawa-hawa nalang kayo dyan mga smokers.

  • 12JEM

    In High School when we did not have any allowance for cigarettes and  smoking was not prohibited among students we had a sign for among friends for wanting to have a share of a stick…the middle finger pointing or touching the mid-point of the index finger….a sign for wanting to have 50-50 sharing of the stick of interest!

    Those of us who did not stop smoking after high school are now gone or are suffering from smoking-related ailments.

  • Edward Solilap

    This news is a dissaster how  could a journalist spend the time watching those smokers and their sad journey with Sin Tax Law.

  • INQ_reader

    Ok lang sana yun tagay-tagay sa isang baso, pwede naman iwasan ang labi ng baso. Pero mahirap kung tagay-tagay sa yosi. Parang nag-kiss na rin kayong magkukumpare!!!


  • WeAry_Bat

    So far, I have limited my smoking.  It is now down to half a pack a day.  I also smoke half a stick, put it out, then relight it later.

    What was that topic about developing a habit, one needs 66 days or so?

    My next goal is 5 sticks a day, just like in college as a poor rat.  Maybe April or May.  I hope the withdrawal symptoms will become lesser as it stretches out into days.

    I just note that somehow, a pack of cigarettes is like food.  It changes once opened and left for a week.  So I guess at some point, I will be dealing with the street retailers e.g. si manang with the plastic tray.

  • Don Ryder

    karamihan ng nag-yoyosi ay mga mahihirap.  anti-poor daw ang sin tax . . . bakit bubuwisan ang mga mahihirap.  kaya maraming tutol.  pero lumalabas, pabor ang sin tax sa mahihirap at sa mga middle class.  karamihan ng mahihirap na nagkakaroon ng sakit sa baga, saan pumupunta?  hindi ba sa mga government hospital?  At ang nagbabayad ng kanilang pag-ospital ay mga taxpayer din.  ganyan naman e — puro reklamo sila.  pero bilang isang taxpayer, natutuwa ako sa sin tax.  mabuti ngayon ang bayad kong buwis ay hindi na napupunta sa pagpapagamot ng mga nagyoyosi!

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