Rising cigarette prices amaze sellers and consumers

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BY MICHAEL KOMA

A pack of cigarettes (Cambridge) went from K22 to K24 on Tuesday in the provinces of Chimbu and the Eastern Highlands.

The unprecedented increase has forced commercial store operators and street vendors to sell a single cigarette (in bulk) to consumers for 1.50K.

A pack of cigarettes, which contains 25 cigarettes, was sold by major retail outlets for K22 until Tuesday when the price jumped to K24 (an increase from K2).

Maine Kuri, a street vendor in Chuave, Chimbu province, said she bought a pack of cigarettes for K22 on Monday but was charged K24 for the same item the next day.

Ms Kuri said: “I was amazed by the unexpected increase in the price of a Cambridge package.”

“From today (Tuesday) I have no choice but to sell a single cigarette for K1.50 instead of K1 because I will only make a K1 profit for a pack if I continue to sell a single cigarette for K1.

“I am now selling a cigarette at 1.50K to make a profit of 13.50K.

Rising prices have forced many cigarette sellers in the Eastern Highlands, Chimbu and Jiwaka provinces to sell a single cigarette for K 1.50 while some sell K 1.20 per stick.

It was the same story in the provinces of the Western Highlands, Enga, Southern Highlands and Hela.

Many smokers have expressed concern about the rising prices.

Contacted by the Post Courier, the maker of the affected brands, British American Tobacco PNG, confirmed that Cambridge’s RRP had increased by 2.50K for a pack of 25 cigarettes (from 22K to 24.5K).

Adding that 2019 is the first time BATPNG has increased the price since 2014, against a background of increasing manufacturing and distribution costs as well as increasing excise rates during this period.


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