Officials of the Carreras Group, the island's leading cigarette importer, spent most of yesterday looking at the implications of the change in the tax structure.
Arthur Hall, Senior Staff Reporter
Local smokers will have to wait until tomorrow to find out how much more they will pay for cigarettes.
Smokers now pay between $15 and $20 for each cigarette and between $250 and $400 for each 20-pack of the more popular brands.
But those prices are expected to increase with the changes in the tax structure announced by Finance Minister Audley Shaw last Thursday.
The Government wants to rake in a further $2.88 billion based on the reformed tax structure on tobacco, which will take effect on Monday.
Under the structure, the Government has eliminated the additional stamp duty, excise duty and ad-valorem tax on cigarettes.
However, the special consumption tax has been more than doubled to increase the Government's take from smokers.
This will mean that importers will pay $6,000 for every 1,000 cigarettes they bring into the island, up from $2,300.
On Friday, officials of the Carreras Group, the island's leading cigarette importer, spent most of the day looking at the implication of the move.
Corporate and Regulatory Affairs Manager at Carreras, Rhys Campbell, told The Sunday Gleaner the company was still trying to assess the impact.
He said it was too early for the company to say how this would affect prices.
"We should be able to make a statement by Monday afternoon,"Campbell said.
But several cigarette vendors are not waiting on the importers and distributors to respond to the changes announced by the finance minister.
On Friday, some vendors claimed they were out of cigarettes in what appeared to be a ploy to horde the product while they await the expected price increase.
Other vendors hiked their prices with one vendor selling each pack of cigarettes for $350, up from $300.
Cigarette prices were last increased just over one year ago.