Japan in 40% cigarette tax increase
Published 01/10/2010 | 06:32
Japan has imposed a 40% tax hike on cigarettes, effectively raising the price on most brands by a third, in an effort to curb smoking.
The finance ministry said the increase, which lifted the price of the popular Mild Seven brand to 410 yen (£3.09) per pack, will raise 63.1 billion yen (£480 million) over the first year.
But officials at the health and finance ministries say the primary goal is to encourage smokers to quit.
Japan Tobacco, the world's third largest tobacco maker, said 36.6% of Japanese men smoke, down from about 50% a decade ago. The rate among women is 12.1%.