Tehran, Iran, Dec.6
The amount of cigarettes imports to Iran in the first half of the current fiscal year (March 21-Sept. 22) has dropped to zero, while in the same period last year was 1.5 billion cigarettes.
"We have experienced a 16-percent cut in production and sale of tobacco products and by the end of the year the number would reach 30 percent," said the Head of Tobacco Products Manufacturers Exporters and Importers Association Mohammad Reza Tajdar, Trend reported referring to IRNA.
"Iran's domestic cigarette production during the first half of the current year was 19.6 billion cigarettes, while the production in the same period last year was 23.4 billion," he said.
"The policy of raising cigarette prices that was aimed for cutting the consumption has push the country's cigarette market toward low quality smuggled products. If this continues, the producing factories would face serious problems in salary payments," he added.
"According to statistics, around 15,000 workers are employed in the country's tobacco industry," he said.
"The lawmakers recommended the increase of tariffs on the tobacco products last year, where it was disapproved by the government," he added.
"In this plan the 10-percent rise of tariffs on domestic products, 20-percent increase on joint products, 25-percent rise on domestic production of foreign brands and 40-percent increase of tariffs on cigarette imports was applied," he said.
"This year budget plan also passed the law to impose taxes on cigarettes. The tax of one box of domestic cigarette products would be about $18, while the tax on joint product is about $36, $36 on foreign brands and $143 on imports. The rise of prices, has led to increase of the cigarette smuggling in Iran market," he said.