Tax raised on cheap cigarrette brands in Spain
The Spanish government announced today the latest of a series of measures taken to reduce smoking in Spain: a new law increasing the minimum tax on tabacco from 55 euros to 70 euros for every thousand cigarettes. The law forms part of the Government’s anti-tobacco crusade, and will affect the cheapest brands of cigarettes which cost less than 2.17 euros for a pack of 20.
Spain’s Vice-president announced the decision today at the end of the government’s weekly cabinet meeting. María Teresa Fernandez de la Vega said “I hope this measure encourages many people to give up smoking”. If the tobacco companies decide to add the new rise to the price charged to smokers, a 20 pack of cigarettes which currently costs 1.95 € will go up to 2,11 €.
The Government has explained that despite two former rises in the tax on tobacco implemented this year, tobacco companies have chosen to bear the brunt of the tax rise themselves rather than increase the price of a pack of cigarettes which has meant that a significant share of cigarettes are still being sold at prices which the government considers to be “cheaper than desirable from a health perspective”.
This is the fifth time the government has raised taxes on tobacco since September 2005. What’s more, it may not be the last if the cigarette companies in Spain continue lowering their prices in an attempt to counteract the increasing number of smokers who succumb to the new smoking restrictions, take advantage of the new government-financed courses and support groups and manage to kick the habit.