Cigarettes must cost €60 per packet before addicted smokers will quit
A sharp increase in tobacco taxes will not prevent most smokers from smoking. Half of all smokers in the Netherlands say they’ll only quit at a price of 60 euros per pack. At prices from 12 euros per pack, only 10 percent of smokers will stop, according to research by Maastricht University (UM).
Of the 1,500 smokers surveyed, a third thought it was no problem to pay 6 euros per cigarette or 4 euros per gram of rolling tobacco. According to the researchers, this not only indicates how addictive cigarettes are but also how affordable they are. Figures from the World Health Organization show that cigarettes are almost twice as cheap in the Netherlands as in the United Kingdom.
Increases in excise duties have the most significant effect, according to UM researcher Cloe Geboers. “People adjust their consumption when they notice the difference in price in their wallet, i.e., when something becomes more or less affordable. When it comes to discouraging smoking, significant increases in excise duties, like the 1 euro increase in 2020, are also very desirable,” she judges.
After the increase in excise duty in April 2020, the average price per cigarette is 36 cents, and that of a cigarette’s worth of tobacco is 22 cents. The average price at which daily smokers said they’d quit or cut back is between 2 and 3.50 euros per cigarette or shag. Shag smokers have more difficulty with price increases than people who smoke cigarettes.
KWF, the Heard Foundation, and the Lung Fund are calling on politicians to increase the excise duty on tobacco in 2022. If no change to the Tax Plan 2022 is proposed before December 31, this means that the excise duty agreed upon in the Prevention Agreement will not be implemented. The agreement states that the price of a pack of cigarettes can be increased further to 10 euros in 2023 through an increase in excise duty.
Figures from the RIVM show that 11 percent of the smokers surveyed quit after the excise tax increase in 2020. That is more than the approximately 3 percent of smokers who quit on average per year. In addition, 25 percent of the smokers surveyed started smoking less.