Expensive habit

FROM MAY 1, the cost of tobacco will increase by 10 per cent, with only those packets which have the new security seal being legally allowed to be sold, in an effort to stop the booming contraband trade.

This increase in price will equate to an extra 30 cents on the cost of the most popularly bought brands of cigarettes, with cheaper brands increasing by around 15 cents or more.

Directors of the wholesale associations are unsatisfied with the new regulations, which they believe will reduce sales further after poor sales in January, following the smoking ban in enclosed public spaces.

João Passos, president of the southern Tobacco Wholesale Association, told daily national newspaper Correio da Manhã that tobacco sales dropped by 20 per cent in southern Portugal following the January smoking ban. “We sold 2.5 million packets less than we would normally,” he said.

Helena Pereira, a spokeswoman for the wholesale association said: “The only solution against contraband and the crisis in the sector is to make tobacco prices equal to those in Spain, where the same brands can be up to one euro cheaper.”

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