Oman to double tobacco tax

Oman is set to double its tax on tobacco products, according to reports.

Times of Oman cited senior health ministry officials as confirming the plans under a recently launched national strategy for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

Tobacco is deemed the most important of five primary risk factors identified by the programme.

“There are different plans: One is spreading awareness, another is laws that limit smoking in enclosed areas, and then there are increased taxes on tobacco and smoking,” a Royal Hospital official told the publication.

“When you are aware that if you smoke, you will encounter heart disease and cancer, you have to think not once or twice, but three times.”

The official confirmed the tax would be doubled, making the effective tax rate on tobacco products 200 per cent.

A timeline for the increase was not disclosed.

Oman last increased tobacco taxes in 2016 alongside the other GCC countries, according to the publication.

In September 2016 it was estimated that 15 per cent of Oman’s male population used tobacco products and 0.5 per cent of its female population.

The additional tax revenues may help to lessen the country’s expected OMR3bn ($7.81bn) budget deficit for 2018.

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