3 Feb 2006

American Samoa increases excise tax for imported tobacco

11:15 am on 3 February 2006

American Samoa's excise tax for imported tobacco products will increase from the current 12.5 cents to 22.5 cents if a bill now pending in the Senate becomes law.

This would ensure more revenue for the government's general fund and funding for the repayment of the government loan approved in the late 1980s.

However some store owners say an increase in revenue depends on whether or not smokers will continue to purchase tobacco products, because a hike in tax means a hike in the retail price.

If the proposed measure is enacted into law, store owners estimate that the price of popular American brand cigarettes such as Benson Light will increase from $4.50 a pack to an average of $8 to $9 a pack.

In some restaurants and nightclubs cigarettes are sold at $7 a pack, and the increase will be much higher, if the new tax hike is approved.