British Cigarettes Among The Most Expensive In Europe
With the exception of Norway, Brits pay more than anyone for a 20-pack at Â£9.35 â€“ four times higher than the cheapest countries.
The astronomical cost of 20 cigarettes compared with other European countries is the heavy tax levy on tobacco, which contributes approximately Â£6.90 to every pack.
However, many British smokers buy from the black market or duty-free important tobacco to save money, which reportedly costs the taxman Â£3.1 billion per year.
A poll of 12,000 smokers showed that one in eight spend more than Â£20 per week on cigarettes that have not been taxed, which is called â€œillicitâ€ tobacco.
An audit study by KPMG found that 6.7 billion cigarettes per year were shipped out from the black market, a figure that amounts to 16% of the total market.
Prices in Bulgaria are as low as Â£2.06 and it is common in Europe for 20 packs to be cheaper than Â£3.
Researchers from the Tobacco Manufacturersâ€™ Association found that packs in Slovakia are Â£2.61, Croatia Â£2.65, Romania Â£2.75 and Poland Â£2.86.
In the Ukraine, 20 cigarettes works out at just 63p, 15 times cheaper than the price in the UK. Only Norway smokers have to pay more for a 20 pack that Brits.
Cigarette tax is on an automatic escalator â€“ the tax will continue to rise by 2% every year.
â€œIn the last few years, tobacco duty has increased, the black market has grown and tobacco duty revenues have dropped,â€ said Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs. â€œIt is economic madness to continue down this path.â€
Newsagent Hitesh Pandya, owner of Toniâ€™s News in Ramsgate, said: â€œThe Governmentâ€™s tax policy is encouraging smokers to fill their suitcases with cigarettes when abroad.â€
â€œWe donâ€™t see some of our most regular customers for several weeks after they have been on a foreign holiday.â€
â€œThe Governmentâ€™s approach to tobacco tax has to change â€“ it is unfair to customers and businesses alike.â€
It has been found that the UK ranks third on a list of European countries with the strictest tax.