British Cigarettes Among The Most Expensive In Europe

With the exception of Norway, Brits pay more than anyone for a 20-pack at £9.35 – 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 £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 £3.1 billion per year.

A poll of 12,000 smokers showed that one in eight spend more than £20 per week on cigarettes that have not been taxed, which is called “illicit” 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 £2.06 and it is common in Europe for 20 packs to be cheaper than £3.

Researchers from the Tobacco Manufacturers’ Association found that packs in Slovakia are £2.61, Croatia £2.65, Romania £2.75 and Poland £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 – the tax will continue to rise by 2% every year.

“In the last few years, tobacco duty has increased, the black market has grown and tobacco duty revenues have dropped,” said Christopher Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the Institute of Economic Affairs. “It is economic madness to continue down this path.”

Newsagent Hitesh Pandya, owner of Toni’s News in Ramsgate, said: “The Government’s tax policy is encouraging smokers to fill their suitcases with cigarettes when abroad.”

“We don’t see some of our most regular customers for several weeks after they have been on a foreign holiday.”

“The Government’s approach to tobacco tax has to change – it is unfair to customers and businesses alike.”

It has been found that the UK ranks third on a list of European countries with the strictest tax.

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