The importation of tobacco has decreased by 60 percent since the anti-smoking act came into effect last month. Figures released by Portuguese language newspaper Tribuna de Macau show that the impact of the new law in tobacco sales was bigger than expected. It was expected to go down only by 40 percent. President of the Tobacco Trade Association, Chan Ho Lam, warned that some local companies might declare bankruptcy due to the market downturn. He said that the sharp drop was a result of measures which are hampering the survival of the business, though the fight against tobacco smuggling was strengthened.
Tobacco tax increased by MOP 0.50 for each cigarette, to come into line with the ban on smoking in public places. Taxes on tobacco in Macau will reach MOP 10, around 38 percent of the retail price.
Chan said that the cheaper brands experienced a bigger drop in sales. Sales reductions amounted to about 70 percent, since prices went up, while the business of more expensive brands climbed 40 percent.
The association believes that the government must impose limits to duty free tobacco, just like in Hong Kong, that only allows people to enter with 19 cigarettes.