Bismillaa Hirrahmaa Nirrahiim
Brunei has recently seen a tax hike on cigarettes from 1st November this year, to B$0.25 per stick - so what used to cost $3.10 a pack is now $7.60, and some are $8.50.
According to the Brunei Times the amendments were implemented in the interests of the health and well-being of the people, especially in helping to reduce the risk of chronic diseases related to smoking.
Interestingly, a colleague of mine overheard this conversation at a minimart recently, which just shows how effective the changes have been to peoples mindset:
Mr A: Berapa harga sigup Pirellys? (How much is a pack of Pirellys?)
Mr A: Adih, mahalnya (Gosh! That's expensive)
Mr B (A Filipino bystander): Tidak guna bali lah boss, harga beras siam tu (You don't have to buy that Mr, that's as much as a pack of Siam Rice)
At the end, Mr A left without buying the cigarette.
You see, a pack of Siam Rice (10kg) can feed a family of 6 for more than 2 weeks, and that at 2 meals a day!
Questions now have to be asked, is it a necessity? Does it bring benefits? Thanks goodness I stopped ages ago :)