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Macau tobacco retailers facing ruin

Macau’s new tobacco tax is working: retailers say cigarette sales have fallen 70 per cent since the tax was trebled on July 14.
According to the Macau Business Daily, the tax rose from half an MOP to 1.5 MOP on each cigarette, meaning a standard packet of 20 now has 30 MOP in tax – around 70 per cent of the retail price.
Now the government wants to push on with its reforms aimed at stubbing out smoking and improving its citizens’ health, proposing a ban on the display of tobacco products. It’s a move which has already been implemented successfully in markets including New Zealand and Australia, where the government has gone a step further by banning branding on cigarette packets as well.
A proposed law change will make it illegal to display tobacco products and price tags in display windows of sales points, including both shops and stands, and introduces a ban on opening tasting rooms at cigar sales points.
Andrew Chan Hou Lam, deputy director of Macau’s Trade Chamber of Tobacco Companies, told  the second permanent committee of the Legislative Assembly a ban on the display of tobacco products would further threaten the survival of Macao tobacco retailers. He argued that the ban would be unfavourable for consumers who would not be able to understand the information of tobacco products, without explaining how it is currently possible for those customers to read the small print on cigarette packets when standing on the opposite side of the store counter…
Kenith Wong, regional director of the Pacific Cigar Company Ltd, who spoke to news media after making a submission to the Legislative Council, said all tobacco products should be displayed and presented to clients.
“The tasting room as we call it is a very important facility for the sales process. So this aspect is really key for the operators to continue their business,” he said.

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