Smokers to pay more

The government has decided to increase the tax on cigarettes by 20 centimes ($0.20) as of October 1, which should bring in an extra SFr50 million a year.

This content was published on September 24, 2010 minutes

The increase, announced on Friday, will push up the price of a packet in the most popular price range from SFr7.20 to SFr7.40.

Manufacturers and importers have a three-month grace period to adjust their prices, so smokers will not necessarily feel the impact until January 1.

The rise is part of the government’s step-by-step policy towards tobacco tax, which takes into account on the one hand the income to be raised from cigarettes, the evolution of prices in the neighbouring countries and the tax in the European Union, and on the other the changes in cigarette smoking and the proportion of smokers within Switzerland.

In taking the decision, the government also considered smuggling and black-market sales and cross-border purchases.

The most recent increase was in 2008, when the price of a pack went up by 30 cents.

According to a Federal Health Office study, 27 per cent of the Swiss population aged 14-65 were smokers in 2009, the same percentage as in 2008, and a slight drop from the 33 per cent in 2001. However, the number of 20- to 24-year-olds who smoke on a daily basis is on the rise; it went up three per cent from 2008 to 2009.

After much pressure from non-smokers, a nationwide smoking ban came into effect on May 1. Smoking is now forbidden in Swiss public spaces such as restaurants, bars, schools and theatres.

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