Greece - trusty kiosks to shut in tobacco tax protest..

April 22, 2010 - In January 2010 cigarette prices went up. Under the new changes, tax on a packet of cigarettes will increase from 57.5 percent to 70 percent, immediately affecting Europe's heaviest smoking nation. The new prices would mean a packet of cigarettes, which is currently priced at 3.20 euros (4.65 USD), will cost 3.61 euros (5.24 USD) (Greece - to increase tax on tobacco and alcohol..)

The Greek government decided on March 3, 2010 to implement new austerity measures aimed at reducing the state budget deficit by between 4 billion ($5.4 billion) and 4.8 billion euros ($6.5 billion). The tax measures have included an increase of the excise duties on manufactured tobacco and cigarettes, ethyl alcohol and energy products (fuel).

The tax on cigarettes has risen again from 73.5 percent to 81.4 percent and the kiosk owners believe that this will eat into their profits. They are asking the government to change the amount of taxation to allow a profit margin that makes their businesses viable.

In most places in Greece, especially in the country’s cities, you can find a kiosk open for most of the day and a good part of the night but this will not be the case tomorrow, as the kiosk owners’ union has decided to stage a 24-hour strike in protest at the government’s decision to raise tobacco duties as part of the tax reform bill that was passed through Parliament last week. It is estimated that more than 70% of total volume sales of cigarettes and RYO tobacco in Greece take place in kiosks.

The kiosk owners argue that the new tax reduces their profit margins and jeopardizes the future of the 40,000 kiosks around the country, which, their union says, provide a living for 100,000 families.

Reference: Trusty kiosks to shut in tobacco tax protest,, 4/19/2010.

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(Hellenic Republic, Greek)