The price of cigarettes in the european union

BACKGROUND&#x02014 A major factor influencing tobacco use is its price. Fiscal policies on tobacco are a key ingredient of any comprehensive control strategy, as they can be used to raise prices. The European Union (EU) developed directives to ensure some harmonisation of the fiscal pressure on tobacco across its member states.
OBJECTIVES&#x02014 To provide a simple comparison of tobacco prices in the EU, adjusting for the purchasing power of each currency.
DESIGN&#x02014 For price comparisons, a 20&#x000a0 units pack of Marlboro was the reference product, and data refer to April 2000.&#x000a0 Purchasing power parities (PPP) for each member state currency have been compiled. These are currency conversion rates, which convert to a common currency and equalise the purchasing power of different currencies.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES&#x02014 Nominal prices of a Marlboro pack for each member state, and a price index, estimated taking as reference the EU mean. Adjusted prices and an adjusted price index have been estimated using PPP.
RESULTS&#x02014 Nominal prices show wide variation, with the cheapest pack in Portugal (59) and the most expensive in the UK (196) the range of variation is three fold. However, PPP adjusted prices reveal a different distribution. In three countries adjusted prices are outliers, but all other countries make two clusters, one around the average EU index of 100,&#x000a0 the other around a lower value of 85.
CONCLUSIONS&#x02014 These results suggest that fiscal harmonisation policies in the EU do not have an even effect at reducing availability by its impact in price.

Keywords cigarette price fiscal policy health policy European Union.

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European parliament workshop on “electronic cigarettes” 7 may 2013

ERS President Francesco Blasi will take part in a European Parliament Workshop focusing on electronic cigarettes. The Workshop is organized by the Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee as part of ongoing discussions on the revision of the Tobacco Products Directive.

Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) are designed to deliver nicotine to the respiratory system. There has been a significant increase in EU distribution & sales of these products since their arrival on the market.

The scientific evidence on the potential benefits and/or risks of these products is inconclusive. In particular, the long terms effects are unknown. More evidence is needed on the positive or negative effects of these products. Until we know more we should act with caution. We support the Board of Science and the Occupational Medicine Committee of the British Medical Association who state

while ENDS «have the potential to reduce tobacco related harm (by helping smokers to cut down and quit), a strong regulatory framework is required for the sale and use of e cigarettes to

  • ensure they are safe, quality assured and effective at helping smokers to cut down or quit,
  • restrict their marketing, sale and promotion so that it is only targeted at smokers as a way of cutting down and quitting, and does not appeal to non smokers, in particular children and young people,
  • prohibit their use in workplaces and public places to limit second hand exposure to the vapour exhaled by the user, and to ensure their use does not undermine smoking prevention and cessation by reinforcing the normalcy of cigarette use».

Member States should recall Article 14 guidelines of the UN WHO Treaty which state that countries should prioritise cessation (quit) treatments «strongly based on scientific evidence». Any regulation of ENDS should be science based. It is important that we have independent EU supported research into these products. This should include medium and long term independent clinical trials, behavioural studies and individual/population post marketing studies.

A report of the meeting is available here.