Cigarette sales up by 1 billion
According to figures released by the Federal Finance Department, over 11 billion cigarettes were sold in Belgium during 2012.
This is up by more than a billion on the figures for 2011. However, the Finance Department is keen to stress that it is difficult to compare the figures due to changes in the system of duty and VAT payable on tobacco products.
Around 11.2 billion cigarettes were sold here in 2012. This is up from 10 billion in 2011, but down from 12.5 billion in 2010. The Finance Department stresses that the figures don’t give a precise picture of smoking habits, as the system of duty and VAT on tobacco products was altered in 2010.
The Foundation Against Cancer says that the figures are proof that the Federal Health Department’s anti-smoking policies are failing.
"We call for an above inflation price rise of 5%”, the Foundation’s Luk Joossens told the VRT.
Mr Joossens added that “Very many Dutch, French and British smokers come to Belgium to stock up as cigarettes are cheaper here.”
Last November the Federal Government decided to raise duty on cigarettes by 20 eurocents per pack. Although cigarettes cost more in Belgium that in many other EU countries, that are still cheaper than in most neighbouring countries.
A pack of 20 costs an average of 1 euro less than in France and Belgian smokers pay only around half of what British smokers pay for a packet of cigarettes.
[Flandersnews.be / Expatica]