Cigarettes have become more expensive in Singapore following a 10 per cent increase in excise duty on all tobacco products, but experts are divided on whether this will reduce the number of smokers, according to a story in The Straits Times.

The story gave no details of what experts were saying, but it did mention that tobacco excise was last raised in 2014, also by 10 percent.

The latest increase in tobacco taxes was announced by Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat during his Budget speech on Monday.

Prices of popular cigarette brands were set to increase by at least S$1 on Thursday, though some retailers raised them prior to Thursday.

According to a circular sent to retailers on Tuesday by tobacco company Philip Morris Singapore, which was seen by the Times, the price of a pack of 20 Marlboro White cigarettes was set to rise from S$13.00 to S$14.10, while the price of a pack of Sampoerna A Menthol cigarettes was set to increase from S$12.30 to S$13.80.

The Tobacco Network Traders sent out a recommended price list to retailers, increasing the price of rolling tobacco such as Butterfly Yellow by more than S$1 to S$12.

It was not stated whether these increases were down only to the tax rise or whether manufacturers were taking the opportunity of raising their prices.

The tax on a typical pack of 20 cigarettes is now about 60 percent, before goods and services tax, the Ministry of Finance said in response to queries from the Times.  

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