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Cigarettes disappear from shelves in Riyadh

GDN Online Desk

Riyadh: Cigarettes disappeared from many shops in Riyadh today amid speculations that prices would soon be increased to SR40 per packet.

Saudi authorities had already announced that a 100% tax would also be levied on tobacco and byproducts, as well as energy beverages, under the new Saudi budget plan.

The tax levied on selected products that pose health risk was endorsed during the 36th Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit.

The list of taxable products could be expanded to include sugary beverages and food products which were cited among the causes of the alarming increase in the rate of diabetes and obesity in Saudi Arabia.

A group of Saudis had already launched a hashtag to express their support to the planned tobacco hike, hoping the measure would help slash the number of smokers.

A recent study revealed that Kuwait has the highest proportion of smokers who make up 31.3% of the population, followed by Bahrain (23.8%), and Saudi Arabia (22.2%), Qatar (19.4%), the UAE (18.1%) and Oman (13%).