Bulgaria’s smoking ban resulted in 3–4% cut in cigarette deals

The full smoking ban in public areas that became law in Bulgaria in June 2012 has resulted in a drop in cigarette sales by 3 to 4%

However, it is too early to check out the long-term results, reported by Sofia-based research center Industry Watch.

Smoking Man

Man holding a cigarette

The launch of the full ban on smoking resulted in public protests by restaurateurs, bar owners and hoteliers who said that their custom was hard injured by the ban. Efforts to change the law to go back to the previous system of separate smoking and non-smoking places in restaurants and pubs have been unsuccessful.

Industry Watch said that nowadays there had been considerable modifications in the tobacco market.

The average effective rate of excise tax on cigarettes rose about 4.6 times from 2005 to 2013 year. From late 2004 up to now, the average price of cigarettes had grown by 3.3 times.

Nevertheless, in comparison with 2008, Bulgaria was gathering only 7% more income in a twofold boost in excise taxes for the period.

Market liberalisation removed the differential tax treatment of local and imported cigarettes. This removed some market benefit of cheaper domestic cigarette brands in the market where there is already considerable presence of global cigarette brands, Industry Watch said.

As outlined by Industry Watch, the effect of higher excise tax was proportionately much more on cheaper cigarettes and the effect on more expensive cigarettes was generally weaker. Industry Watch said that in other European Union countries where bans on smoking had been released, cigarette deals dropped by 4 to 11% in the months instantly after the ban became effective.

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