Czech cigarette excise tax should be higher, expert says

Speaking ahead of World No Tobacco Day, Hana Ross criticized tobacco's widespread availability and insufficient taxation.


Written by ČTK Published on 30.05.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 29.05.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

The current price of cigarettes in the Czech Republic does not correspond to their harmfulness and health care costs, Hana Ross, an expert in the economics of excisable commodities from the University of Cape Town, said at a press conference held in Prague to highlight the upcoming World No Tobacco Day.

Given inflation, cigarettes are as available now as they were nearly 20 years ago in Czechia. The real price of cigarettes last year was even lower than it had been in 2016, she said.

The consolidation package proposed by the Czech government increases the excise tax per cigarette pack, from about CZK 51 to CZK 84.4, and introduces the excise tax on electronic cigarettes and nicotine pouches. This is a positive trend that is in line with EU standards, Ross said. However, the tax on heated tobacco and fine-cut tobacco remains lower in Czechia, she noted.

The tax on fine-cut tobacco will rise slightly from CZK 3,000 to CZK 3,300 per kilogram. "This motivates people not to stop smoking, but to roll cigarettes themselves," Ross said. The EU proposes to raise this tax to at least CZK 4,200 per kg. If the tax were the same as for cigarette packs, it would be over CZK 6,000 per kg, she said.

The World Health Organization has recommended taxing heated tobacco same as classical cigarettes. The tax on heated tobacco will grow by 15 percent in Czechia, which is insufficient, according to Ross.


Ladislav Kokoška, from the Czech University of Life Sciences in Prague, said if tobacco were revealed as a new plant now, people would certainly not have been permitted to use it. He noted that tobacco products were used as an alternative to pesticides used for pest control.

Eva Králiková, the head of the Czech Society for Treatment of Tobacco Addiction, said over 16,000 deaths per year were connected to smoking in Czechia. People do not know that there is an effective medicine that can rid them of withdrawal symtptoms if they want to stop smoking, she said.

There are roughly 2 million smokers in the Czech Republic out of a total population of 10.5 million inhabitants and only about 700 of the smokers used the treatment for their addiction in 2022. World No Tobacco Day is on May 31.

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more