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Poles Buy Less Cigarettes, Legally

25.01.2008 13:28

The sale of tobacco dropped to 69.8 billion cigarettes in Poland in 2007, i.e. 2.5 billion less than in the previous year, the National Association of Tobacco Industry has revealed.

It looks as if Polish smokers are beginning to turn away from cigarettes, at least those purchased legally.

An increase in the excise duty that has contributed to a significant rise in tobacco prices and antismoking campaigns in the Polish media seem to be the main reasons for the change of attitudes among 9 million habitual smokers in Poland.

By 2009, tobacco prices in Poland will go even further up when the country will have to be fully compliant with the EU requirements regarding excise duty on tobacco (at least 64 EUR per 1000 cigarettes).

The news is bad for tobacco manufacturers in Poland. In 2006, out of seven tobacco producers only 2 were profitable, according to Puls Biznesu.

The Polish State Treasury is one of few winners in the situation. In spite of the sharp drop in tobacco sales, in the 11 months of 2007, the budget recognized 11.8 billion zlotys in revenues compared with 10.4 billion in the previous year. In 2008, the profit is expected to grow by additional 2.3 billion zlotys.

Puls Biznesu warns that the high tobacco prices will result in an increased number of cigarettes smuggled to and sold illegally in Poland. Estimates show that the share of smuggled cigarettes in the total national tobacco consumption has reached 30 per cent. In 2007, the Polish Customs seized more than 503 million illegal cigarettes, mainly on the eastern border.

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