The Framework Convention Alliance for Tobacco Control

Tonga ups tobacco tax to fight diseases

The Government of Tonga has announced it will increase excise tax on tobacco, and cut the amount of tobacco that arriving passengers can carry into the country.

"The new rates are part of the government's commitment to reduce non-communicable diseases (NCDs) by increasing the import rates of the unhealthy products," announced the Ministry of Revenue earlier this month, according to a media report.

NCDs include cancers, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory disease. They kill more than 36 million people annually. Tobacco is the one risk factor common to these four groups of NCDs.

Tonga's government also announced it was cutting duties on "healthy foods", including fresh and tinned fish and vegetable oil.

Arriving passengers will be able to import 250 cigarettes or 250 grams of tobacco, down from 500 cigarettes. Changes in tobacco tax are as follows (per 1,000 cigarettes):

  • Imported cigarettes – from US$112 to US$134
  • Local cigarettes – from US$107 to US$128

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