Use yearend tax to cut tobacco consumption

The news that Philip Morris Japan is raising cigarette prices on Oct. 1, the same day the tobacco tax will go up, reminds us of the importance of reducing tobacco consumption. Nowadays, as the harmful effects of smoking not only for smokers but also nonsmokers through passive smoking are widely known, the government is proposing many tobacco policies. My suggestion to reduce tobacco consumption is to make smokers pay the tobacco tax cumulatively at the end of the fiscal year.

Every January I make New Year’s resolutions, but after a week I completely forget about them. And interestingly, in March I also make financial resolutions for the new fiscal year, because every March, tax returns are due in Japan and I’m surprised how much I have to pay in taxes. During this time we become interested in how to reduce taxes and many seminars are held.

This shows we are usually unaware of our small daily consumption, but if it is summed up we realize how large the total is, the same as with monthly credit card bills. My plan would make people aware of their tobacco consumption by requesting the total tax at the end of the fiscal year. This would motivate smokers to reduce how much tobacco they use and how much they pay in taxes in addition to the amount they pay for the tobacco products themselves.

It will make not only us but also our colleagues and friends resolve once more to reduce consumption of tobacco.

TAKAHISA OGAWA
SUMIDA WARD, TOKYO

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.