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Belgium will raise tobacco prices by over a euro in 2021

Credit: Janek Szymanowski/ Pixabay

In an effort to discourage tobacco consumption, the De Croo government has announced it plans to increase excise duties on tobacco in all remaining years of the legislature, resulting in a higher price for the consumer.

From 2021 a pack of 20 cigarettes – currently costing €6.80 – will cost €7.50, while the price for 50 grams of loose tobacco rise from €9.70 to €11.17.

Also in the following years – 2022, 2023 and 2024 – the excise duty on tobacco will be increased. The price increase is stated in the program law that Minister of Finance Vincent Van Peteghem (CD&V) submitted to the Chamber.

Excise tax increases have previously been found to have a significant effect on the reduction of smoking prevalence and the number of averted smoking-attributable deaths, as is the aim of the move. A 2016 study of the Asia-Pacific region found that Middle- and upper-middle income countries would be most affected by high-taxation policies on such products.

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“The increase in excise duties is part of the government’s proactive policy to discourage the appeal of tobacco consumption”, said Van Peteghem in a press release. In 2018, 19% of the Belgian population were smokers, 15% were daily smokers (including 4.7% ‘heavy smokers ‘smoking more than 20 cigarettes a day) and 4% were occasional smokers. These stats represent a 40% decrease in daily smokers between 1997 and 2018, with 52% less heavy smokers compared to 1997.

At the time of the results, daily smoking was also more prevalent in Wallonia (18%) than in Brussels (16%) and in Flanders (13%).

The Brussels Times

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