Economists and consumers eagerly awaited Tito Mboweni's budget speech. While some of the announcement took consumers and economists by surprise, the fact that sin taxes increased again was expected.
Why government places such heavy taxes on these risky products
SARS increases these duties and levies for two reasons. The first is to increase revenue streams into state coffers and the second is to discourage the use of these harmful products.
Smoking remains a leading cause of premature, preventable death in South Africa. According to the Cancer Association of South Africa tobacco kills 44 000 South Africans every year, which is three times more than motor car accidents, and six million worldwide.
The 2017 Western Cape alcohol-related harms reduction policy white paper says that the financial cost of alcohol-related harms to the economy was estimated at a net loss of between R165 billion and R236bn.
Liberty's Chief Medical Officer, Dr Dominique Stott says, "The reality is smokers and drinkers are at higher risk of contracting life altering illnesses like lung cancer and heart disease."
Consumers without any medical aid to pay for the expensive medical treatments have no choice turn to government for their medical care.