Pack of cigarettes more than 11 euros from today: ‘I always look away when using my debit card. Don’t calculate how much it costs me per month’

Pack of cigarettes more than 11 euros from today: ‘I always look away when using my debit card. Don’t calculate how much it costs me per month’
Pack of cigarettes more than 11 euros from today: ‘I always look away when using my debit card. Don’t calculate how much it costs me per month’
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“Just nonsense,” is what Ingrid Venniker (53) thinks, as she quickly smokes a cigarette before her bus departs from Haarlem station. “You are no longer allowed to eat meat, you are no longer allowed to smoke.” She finds the excise tax increase on tobacco that came into effect on April 1 – a pack of cigarettes now costs an average of more than 11 euros – patronizing, and she also does not think that the higher price will convince many people to quit. “Not me anyway.”

Other smokers standing around the station on this chilly spring day react more resignedly to the price increase of an average of 1 euro per pack: “I always think when I see other people smoking: jeez, how sad, do you still smoke?!” laughs Ton Barning (65), while lighting a filter cigarette himself. “It is completely right that smoking is made more difficult, but hey, it is an addiction, right.” It won’t make much difference to him that a 1 euro pack becomes more expensive. “I always look away when paying for a pack of cigarettes, don’t imagine how much it costs me per month.”

“Yes, this was coming, and it is justified,” says Marvin Servaas (31). Even though he says he smokes almost a pack a day, he thinks the higher price is a good disincentive. “And at a certain point the limit has been reached for me.”

Only stop at 60 euros per pack

But do excise tax increases actually work? When will the price of a pack of cigarettes become high enough to get people to quit? Maastricht University conducted research into this in 2021. To persuade 10 percent of smokers to quit, a minimum price of 12 euros per pack is needed, it showed. About half of smokers say they will only stop at a price of 60 euros per pack.

According to the Trimbos Institute, experience from previous excise duty increases shows that a price increase of 10 percent reduces the number of smokers by about 4 percent, and that significant increases of 1 euro or more per pack (such as now) have the greatest effect. About 19 percent of Dutch people now smoke, a halving compared to 1990.

smokerTony Barning I always think when I see other people smoking: jeez, how sad, do you still smoke?!

The new excise tax increase is part of the National Prevention Agreement, which should lead to a ‘smoke-free generation’ by 2040. In that light, it is unfortunate that despite the excise tax increases in recent years, after decades of steady decline, there has been a slight increase in the number of young people addicted to tobacco. According to addiction researchers, this is mainly because, at the same time as taxes on tobacco are being increased, the rules for e-cigarettes and vapes are remarkably flexible, although that is also starting to change.

‘The only one who smokes’

Inveterate smoker Ton Barning wonders at the Haarlem station entrance how this latest price increase will work out for Dutch people who have less to spend than himself. “In that respect they are just like drugs, you can increase the price, but people remain just as addicted.”

Research on the effects of price increases on lower incomes varies somewhat. On its website, the Long Fund disputes the idea that people with little money suffer most from higher tobacco prices. “Excise tax increases actually reduce the health differences between rich and poor, because people with a lower income are more likely to quit when tobacco becomes more expensive.” But a large study from medical journal The Lancet from 2019 shows that people from lower socio-economic classes do indeed quit more quickly due to excise tax increases, but that it is precisely in that group that the greatest decline is also seen in people who do not persist in quitting. Tobacco taxes now account for approximately 2.5 billion euros in government revenue.

“It’s okay,” says Ingrid Venniker somewhat scornfully at the bus stop: “All in all, smoking doesn’t get any more fun. I’m often the only one at parties who smokes.”




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The article is in Dutch

Tags: Pack cigarettes euros today debit card Dont calculate costs month

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