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« Mortality and smoking | Main | Charitable thoughts »
Wednesday
Sep072011

Price of cigarettes around Europe

For the average 20-a-day smoker in Ireland the habit costs €121.10 per fortnight (€60.55 a week), assuming you buy your cigarettes from a normal retail outlet.

However, smokers also take holidays and Forest readers might be interested to learn what their habit will cost them during the annual two week break in Europe.

Sunny Spain is a favoured destination for the vacationing Irish masses and smokers can save €65.00 by buying their two weeks' supply locally there. By legally bringing home another 200 smokes you would save a further €46.50. Think of it as a discount of €111 off your holiday. That kind of makes Spain a cheap destination, doesn't it? The same applies to Portugal where 20 cigarettes are the same price as Spain (€4).

But wait, there's more. Slovenia is one of those beautiful new countries that has thrown its borders open to would be sightseeing strangers and firsthand reports I have received suggest that it is an excellent destination all around. And you will save €78.26 during your stay by buying your supply there. The 200 you bring home will save you a further €55.90 bringing you total savings for the trip to €134.16. Now, that's a lot of money in Slovenia.

If you find yourself crossing the French/Spanish border, then do stop in Andorra and pick up 400 cigarettes for your holiday. It will only cost you €54 and will save you €119 on the Irish price as a pack of 20 there costs €2.70.

Wealthier smokers may fancy Scandinavia but be careful. Cigarettes in Norway cost over twice what they do in Sweden (unbelievable but true). You see, only Norway (a non-EU country) has more expensive cigarettes than Ireland. We have the dubious distinction of being the most expensive place in the EU. In Norway 20 cigarettes costs €9.63 while just across their long land border with Sweden you can pick them up for as little as €4.62. Even better, you could take a trip across the Baltic to Vilnius, the beautiful capital of Lithuania and pay only €2.06 for 20 cigarettes.

Romania is in the EU and I am told that their beers and wines are excellent and very cheap. Better still, the Irish visitor will save €109 euro during their fortnight there and a further €155 on their 400 to bring home. That's a saving of a whopping €264 which is a hell of a lot of Romanian wine & beer!

It is an untenable situation here when smugglers can take all the risks, suffer seizures and arrests and still offer you cigarettes at half of the official price. And even with that you can buy them cheaper again and be fully legal in most of our preferred destinations in the EU.

The original vision for the European Union was price harmonisation by bringing tariffs into line. We all know that our precious corporate tax rate is under pressure now because our European neighbours consider it uncompetitive, but what about pricing? It's the other side of the same card after all.

Anyway, as a service to our readers, we offer the full list of pricing for 20 cigarettes across Europe.

As of September 2011:

European Union
€8.65 Ireland
€7.88 UK
€5.90 France
€5.26 Holland
€5.16 Germany
€5.23 Denmark
€5.05 Belgium
€5.00 Finland
€4.62 Sweden
€4.60 Italy
€4.40 Austria
€4.20 Luxembourg
€4.00 Spain
€4.00 Portugal
€4.00 Cyprus
€3.43 Czech Republic
€3.06 Slovenia
€4.00 Greece
€3.00 Estonia
€2.97 North Cyprus
€2.95 Poland
€2.70 Andorra
€2.51 Hungary
€2.50 Bulgaria
€2.49 Latvia
€2.06 Lithuania
€0.89 Romania

Non-EU
€9.63 Norway
€4.81 Switzerland
€3.06 Croatia
€2.97 Turkey
€1.49 Albania
€1.36 Russia
€1.17 Serbia
€1.02 Ukraine
€0.92 Belarus

Source: ITMAC

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Reader Comments (12)

Thanks a million John for giving this most useful information and most particularly for giving us the euro conversion.
This will be a tremendous help when planning hols.
Surprised that Norn Iron is still cheaper than us.
Thanks again.

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterBrendan

My pleasure Brendan.

Actually, I gave my daughter one hundred euro to buy Samson tobacco for me while she was in Spain last week. For the money, she brought me back 23 pouches weighing 50 grams each. The 50 gram pouch is difficult to get here but one shop in the city (Cork) centre, sells them at 18.70 Euro each. I saved 430 Euro on that alone and it will keep me going until summer next year. !

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mallon

Why quote only 400 cigarettes John? There is no limit to what you can bring back for personal use. Are you sure Romania is only 0.89 Euros? :)

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

Smokinh Hot,

You're right of course hence the price list. Simon reminded me to tell you that the prices are supplied by The Irish Tobacco Maunufacturers Advisory Committee, so I am presuming the products are therefore mainstream brands. For example, in Spain there is a brand of cigarette called "Celtas" and they were always the cheapest (and roughest) cigarettes available there. Remember also, I quote the price of twenty and multiply by ten to get 200. It's possible there is a volume discount. And the price for Romania seems correct. !

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Mallon

27th March 2011, Marlboro were 2.41 Euros for a pack of 20 in Romania. Rest of prices seem about right for brand names although Poland is a little high and should be around 2.50 Euros. Don't want everyone rushing off to Romania on a false premise! :)

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

This is why smuggling is so profitable. ASH and their ilk always like to trumpet the canard "that 90% of smokers want to quit.....". This high % suits their assumption that smokers wish to quit because tobacco is " bad " But if the question was asked in a more decent way, such as, " If the price of cigarettes /. tobacco was 2E give or take 10c at the shop counter ( which it would be if the taxes weren't ridiculous ), then that 90% would easily dop to 7 -- 10 % of smokers wanting to quit. Luckily any time I fly home i get my smokes duty free. The last time was 2 years ago, and the prices was $24.00 for 200 smokes but the where having a 'Buy 2 get 1 free' deal. So each 20 pack of Pall Mal ended up costing 1.13 euro. 8 times less than the woluld cost in Ireland in a shop. And the Gov't can't understand why the smugglers are rich. what idiots

September 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRonkonkomaCavan

I think a lot of people are under the impression that you can only bring back 2 cartons (400) cigs from abroad, when in actual fact the amount allowed is 16 cartons (3,200) cigs from any EU country.
You can only bring back 2 cartons from any non EU country.
My hubby went to Barcelona recently for his stock up of cigs with his non smoking friend and his friend was shivering going through customs with the 16 cartons as he was convinced you were only allowed 2 cartons because he needed a stiff drink in the airport bar to calm his nerves after he came through customs.
The EU and its so called open borders on trade, equality etc makes me puke, when the price of fags can range from 89cent to 8.65euro and the same goes for cars and god knows what else.
In my opinion we'd be far better off out of the euro and the bleedin eurozone because they really have us paddys for fools.

September 10, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterann

Thanks for this, i'm going to prague soon and this is really useful! Just wondering, what brand are you basing your list of prices on? Or maybe it's an average?

January 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterIsobel

The Revenue Commissioners have lowered the amounts you can take into Ireland from EU countries for personal use: 800 cigarettes & 1kg of loose tobacco.

http://www.revenue.ie/en/customs/leaflets/pn1878.html

May 7, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ Kilkenny

I think you will find that the 800 rule starts in October.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterevie

I think you will find prices are much higher now in Europe, some rising as much as 25%.

April 11, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBaccy run

I think people should read the information provided about the number of cigarettes that can be brought back from another EU country more carefully, as there are no limits as long as they are brought back for personal consumption or as gifts/presents. Please note though, that the person who brings back the cigarettes/tobacco/cigars can not be reimbursed in any way for the products, not even the cost price, they can only be brought back for other people as pure gifts, or of course for personal consumption.
There are NO LIMITS (from the EU), the 800 stated is a recommended amount under which it is automatically assumed that the cigarettes are for personal consumption. If I go on holiday once a year I can bring back 5,000 if I want - that is not illegal as I would make it clear that they are are for me and as I only go abroad once a year, it is easily personal consumption for the year. You are also not legally obliged to declare the cigarettes when you come back either from an EU country, only if you are stopped at customs and asked.
I would not advise buying in Andorra as it is not EU, and therefore you would only be allowed to bring back 200 cigarettes. The same applies to other non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Monaco, The Vatican, Lichtenstein, etc

October 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJS

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