The cost of cigarettes in the Czech Republic will be getting its biggest hike in more than a decade from this month, with the average price per pack going up by 10 to 13 crowns under a new increase in the excise tax on cigarettes.
While the increase is set to take effect from March 1, however, consumers will still pay the old prices over the next few weeks until retailers run out of their stock of cigarettes purchased at pre-tax increase rates.
For the first time in history, the average price of a pack of cigarettes in the Czech Republic has crossed the 100-crown mark. The price of best-selling brands like LM, Camel, and Viceroy will go from 101 to 113 crowns.
Between 2008 and 2019, cigarette prices rose an average of just over three crowns per year.
In 2019, the Czech state collected 56 billion crowns via the excise tax on cigarettes. With the new increase in 2020, an additional 9 billion crowns is estimated.
Cigarette prices can be expected to continue to rise over the coming years, with the Ministry of Finance planning a 4-5 crown excise tax hike on a pack of cigarettes each year through 2023.
In addition to the tax increase on cigarettes, one popular choice will no longer be on shelves from May.
Flavored cigarettes including vanilla, blueberry and other varieties deemed to appeal to young demographics had been banned under EU regulations from 2018. Menthol cigarettes also fell under this ban, but were given a two-year exemption.
But from May 20, 2020, time is up for menthols in the Czech Republic and across the entire European Union. Menthol smokers ought to stock up in advance.
While smoking has already been on the decline in the Czech Republic over recent years, thanks in part to a ban on smoking in restaurants and other venues, the new tax hike and menthol ban might further thin out the number of smokers in the country.