Belgians buy 750 million fewer cigarettes

3rd July 2008, Comments 0 comments

The first significant drop of 12 percent spells good news for Belgians’ health but bad news for the treasury.

3 July 2008

BELGIUM – Sales in cigarettes were down by 12 percent or 750 million cigarettes during the first half of 2008.

This is the first significant drop in cigarette sales in Belgium.

There has also been a decrease in tobacco sales. Nearly 3,400 tonnes of tobacco were sold during the first six months of 2008. Tobacco sales are down 8.5 percent in comparison with 2007.

This is good news for Belgians' health but bad news for the treasury as they will lose out on VAT and duty worth EUR 35 million.

The Health Ministry identifies several factors that triggered the fall in sales: legislation banning smoking in restaurants and public places and 2007's price rise.

Belgian cigarette sellers are also feeling the competition from Eastern European producers. Cigarettes are far cheaper in Eastern Europe and are routinely smuggled to Belgium.

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