Higher tax won’t deter smokers, drinkers

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Independent Newspapers

Patrons of Bobs Bar in Long Street will not give up alcohol. Picture: Jason Boud.

Cape Town - Smokers and drinkers would rather cut down on their grocery and clothing bills than on alcohol or cigarettes.

Yesterday Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan announced a significant increase in excise duties on tobacco products and alcohol.

The price of a 340ml can of beer increases by 9c and a pack of 20 cigarettes 68c.

Whisky goes up by R4.80, sparkling wine 62c a 750ml bottle, and malt beer by 9c a 340ml can.

The percentage of the weighted average retail selling price for wine is 23 percent, clear beer is 35 percent and spirits is 48 percent.

Yesterday the Cape Argus spoke to patrons at Bob’s Bar, Beerhouse and Sgt Pepper in Long Street, and most said they would not compromise on alcohol or cigarettes.

Lance Landore, a bartender at Bob’s Bar, said he quit smoking this year because it cost him too much.

“I used to spend R36 a day on cigarettes and have since bought myself an e-cigarette. I still crave cigarettes, but this is working out cheaper for me.”

Terri Naidoo, an avid smoker, said she was not prepared to compromise on her cigarettes or alcohol.

“All over the world everything is getting more expensive. I have been smoking for the past 30 years and won’t stop now.”

Jacqui Naumann, a patron at Sgt Pepper, said she used red wine to cook and also smoked two packs of cigarettes a day. “I would rather lower my grocery bill or spend less on home improvement, but will not cut down on my social life.”

Carrie Vanginkel said she would continue to buy cigarettes. “I spend around R900 on cigarettes a month and the increase won’t affect me.”

Dylan Newton, a patron at Beerhouse, said he would pay whatever it took for a glass of beer. “I would cut down on clothing, or buy cheaper brands. Or I would buy crackers instead of Provitas,” he joked.

His friend Stephen Roth said he would either smoke less or bum more cigarettes.

Marion Petersen said she bought a six-pack of beers for two people every weekend.

“Beer is a big thing for us. I would rather not go eat out or go to the movies to cut costs.” - Cape Argus


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