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High Taxes on Tobacco and Alcohol


Smoking is one of the largest public heath problems and a cause of major concern not only among European members such as Greece but also worldwide.

But in Greece, government started the fight against tobacco and alcohol. For example it declared that the taxes on cigarettes and alcohol will be increased for euro1 billion ($1.43 billion).

The Finance Ministry explained that the increase will take instant effect for alcohol sales, while cigarette prices will increase on January 12.

The new measure will help increase budget revenues and discourage consumption.

For example tax on a packet of cigarettes will rise from 57.5 to 70 percent. In general, Greeks are among the heaviest smokers in the European Union. Especially Greek women are the heaviest smokers in the world, while Greek men hold the fourth place, according to a recent study.

But for most alcoholic beverages, tax per liter (0.26 gallon) of alcohol will rise from euro11.4 to euro13.7 ($16.3 to $19.6), making the increase minor for wine and beer but more important for spirits.

The new prices would mean a packet of cigarettes, usually priced at euro3.20 ($4.57), will cost euro3.61 ($5.15) and add about euro1 ($1.43) to the price of a bottle of whisky, at present selling at about euro14 ($20).

"We are attempting to impose changes that are sensitive to people's budgets, so the increase on cheaper cigarettes and ... drinks will be lower than it will be for those at a higher price," explained Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou.

He also censured the prior conservative government, removed in an October general election, for Greece's financial grieves. Under heavy pressure from EU partners and international sells to improve its finances, Greece has promised to bring its increasing budget shortage below 3 percent of economic output by 2012, from an estimated 12.7 percent last year.

A team of European Union and European Central Bank inspectors on Friday completed a three-day visit to Athens, during which they held extensive talks with senior government officials on budgetary spending and proposed reforms.

Finance Ministry officials said that they will submit an economic firmness plan, planning the spending cuts, to the European Union ahead of the Jan. 31 deadline.

And so the purpose of this study is to describe the methods used to control tobacco consumption in Greece, and the recent anti-tobacco legislation approved in this state.

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