European smokers face higher prices

Smokers in Europe will have to pay more for their cigarettes under plans by Brussels to increase minimum tax levels on tobacco over the next six years.

The European Commission claims that the move – which will hit smokers in some of the newer EU member states hardest – will help cut tobacco consumption by ten per cent over the next five years.
The European Commission is now proposing to raise the percentage to 63 per cent and the rate to EUR 90 for all cigarettes by 2014. It also plans to update definitions of different types of tobacco products, so that loopholes are removed which allow certain products to be presented as cigars, cigarillos or pipe tobacco and so enjoy a lower tax rate.
The commission estimates that the impact could be to increase prices in some newer members states – such as Bulgaria and the Czech Republic – by more than 30 per cent, and in Poland by more than 40 per cent. However, in countries such as Ireland, the UK and Denmark, where tobacco products are already heavily taxed, there would be no impact. (pi)

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