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File pix. A Customs Officer inspecting an outlet in Jalan Paya Pulai in Segamat for illicit cigarettes. British American Tobacco Malaysia tonight announced a price hike for its range of cigarettes, some going as high as RM18 per-pack.

KUALA LUMPUR: Effective tomorrow (Wednesday), cigarette brands under British American Tobacco Malaysia (BAT Malaysia) which include Dunhill, Lucky Strike and Pall Mall are set to go up to as high as RM18.

This was announced by BAT Malaysia tonight in response to an increase by the government on cigarette excise by more than 40 per cent.

Under the new prices, the Dunhill range will cost RM17 per pack; Benson and Hedges (RM17); Pall Mall (RM15.50); Kent (RM17); Peter Stuyvesant (RM15.50); Shuang Xi (RM18); and Lucky Strike Plain (RM17.50).

Previously, brands such as Dunhill had been priced at RM13.80 per pack.

In a statement tonight, BAT expressed "extreme disappointment and shock" over what it described was a “massive unprecedented” increase in the cigarette excise, effective Nov 3.

"The tobacco industry has already been hit by a huge 12 per cent increase in cigarette excise just a year ago on Nov 1.

"This was followed by the implementation of the Goods and Services Tax at six per cent beginning April 1 this year," said BAT Malaysia managing director Stefano Clini.

Clini said the legal tobacco market has declined by 10 per cent on a September year-to-date basis.

“This extreme hike done against the backdrop of both weakened economy and consumer sentiments will definitely fuel further an already high level of illegal cigarettes, where one in three packs is illegal.

"We cannot imagine the impact that this increase in excise will have on the industry."

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