Expatica news

Cigarette sales slump

7 September 2004

BRUSSELS – Cigarette sales have plummeted in Belgium this year, according to figures published on Tuesday.

Around 400 million fewer cigarettes were sold in the first seven months of this year than in 2003 – between 15 and 20 million fewer packets.

Smokers bought eight billion cigarettes between January 1 and July 31 this year, compared to 8.4 billion in 2003.

Newspaper La Derniere Heure put the slump down to the rise in cigarette prices at the start of the year.

It concluded smokers had either decided to quit, had cut back or were buying their tobacco from other sources.

Sales of cigars haven’t been hit by the reduction, added the paper.

It also noted that rolling tobacco has been selling well since March, especially in June and July.

In those two months 1,552 tonnes of rolling tobacco were bought, compared to 1,059 over the same period in 2003.

However, the cigarette industry doesn’t expect rolling tobacco to take over the market.

Koen Roelstraete, a spokesman at the Antwerp headquarters of Tabacofina, said: “Rolling tobacco runs up against one social factor – that is, it doesn’t attract young people enough.”

 [Copyright Expatica 2004]

Subject: Belgian news