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Macau tightens tobacco limits – The Standard

Macau tightens tobacco limits

Kelly Ip

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The number of cigarettes that travelers can take into Macau will be restricted to 100 sticks or five packs a day from next month. That is half the existing limit, according to the Macau DailyTimes.

The number of cigars allowed will be cut to 10 sticks and cigarillos to 50 sticks from April 1.

Tobacco products will be limited to 125 grams, down from 250 grams.

Currently, inbound passengers may carry 200 cigarettes, 100 cigarillos or 50 cigars for personal use and the restrictions are per entry, not daily.

Violators face fines of 400 patacas (HK$388) to 600 patacas.

Some parallel importers said the new restrictions will have little effect on smokers because their numbers have dropped since Macau banned smoking in most public areas in January.

As the price of cigarettes in Macau is lower than in Hong Kong and similar to that on the mainland, importers are unlikely to earn much from cigarette transactions.

Some smokers believe the new limits will cut the number of cigarettes of unknown origin being imported to Macau.

A smoker who usually buys cigarettes from the mainland said the restrictions along with increased tobacco tax will discourage him from smoking.

A Macau Customs Services spokesman said the authority will promote the measures with the Economic Services and Tobacco Control Office to prevent illegal transactions.

Cigarette suppliers said the fines are too light. Since the tobacco tax was raised by 150 percent last December from 4 patacas to 10 patacas per pack, sales revenue in the market has dropped by 60 percent, they said.

A carton of cigarettes in Macau costs 290 patacas while in Zhuhai’s duty-free stores it sells for only 110 patacas.

Those who take in five more packs than the allowed amount need to pay only 50 patacas in tax, which is still cheaper than those sold for 290 patacas in Macau.

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