Budget 2024: New Chewing Tobacco Tax, Sugary Drinks Tax Raise

For preventive health, the government introduces a new tax on chewing tobacco under Budget 2024, at a rate of 5% plus RM27 per kg. Excise duty on sugar-sweetened beverages is raised from 40 to 50 sen per litre; revenue earmarked for diabetes treatment.

KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today unveiled a proposal to introduce a new tax on chewing tobacco and increase the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages as part of the government’s strategy to mitigate health risks.

The proposal seeks to impose a 5 per cent excise duty on chewing tobacco, with an additional RM27 per kilogram, similar to the excise duty applied to snuff.

The government’s move to tax smokeless tobacco differs from the request by anti-tobacco activists, who have been advocating for a raise in cigarettes taxes instead. The last increase in cigarette excise duty took place eight years ago in 2014.

Anwar also announced that the current excise duty rate on sugar-sweetened beverages is set to rise from 40 sen to 50 sen per litre.

“The revenue generated from this excise duty will be earmarked for the treatment and management of diabetes, including support for dialysis centres,” Anwar said when tabling Budget 2024.

The government initially introduced a 40 sen excise duty on sweetened beverages in July 2019, targeting two categories of ready-to-drink packaged sweetened drinks. 

These include carbonated drinks with added sugar or flavouring and other sweetening matter with sugar exceeding 5g per 100ml. 

This marked the government’s first major effort to encourage sweetened beverage manufacturers to reduce sugar content to combat obesity and related non-communicable diseases.

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