EU wants higher tax on tobacco products..

July 16, 2008 - The European Commission today (7/16/2008) proposed a gradual increase through 2014 in taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products to try to persuade tobacco users to quit. The plan to harmonize taxes across the 27-nation bloc would hit eastern European smokers hardest where taxes are much lower. A pack of 20 cigarettes costs on average 8.12 euros ($13) in Britain, nearly seven times more than the 1.19 euros ($1.90) price tag in one of the EU's poorest nations, Latvia. The new directive will require that taxes account for 63% of the cigarette price, up from the current level of 57%. The tax must amount to at least 90 euros ($144) from the sale of 1,000 cigarettes instead of 64 euros ($102) at present. That would see cigarette prices in Poland increase by nearly a half although there would be no change to prices in Britain, France, Germany and Ireland where tobacco taxes are already high. The proposal eliminates tax loopholes for cigars, cigarillos and pipe tobacco that allow these products to be sold at a lower tax rate than cigarettes and fine tobacco. "Today's proposal supports the E.U. policy to reduce tobacco consumption and narrow the differences in price levels of tobacco products within the E.U.," said Laszlo Kovacs, Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union. The proposal will need the backing of EU governments and the European Parliament before it could be adopted by the end of 2009 at the earliest.

References: EU Commission Proposes Gradual Increase in Tobacco Taxes by Matthew Dalton, Dow Jones Newswire, 7/16/2008 and European Union calls for tobacco tax hike by Kimberly Chow, Associated Press –, 7/16/2008.

"Tobacco taxation has been the strongest tobacco reduction measure that exists in the world today." Lynn Greaves, Vice President of the Saskatchewan Coalition for Tobacco Reduction..

The European Union has in place a ban on the sale of oral snuff.