Record revenue for the Spanish tax authorities from tobacco taxes

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tobacco taxes

The Ministry of Finance has collected a record amount of €8.97 billion from tobacco taxes. Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health is conducting intensive campaigns against smoking.

It shows how contradictory government policy is. On the one hand, focused on public health and on the other hand, partly financially dependent on income from tobacco products. Tobacco tax revenues reached an all-time high, despite continued efforts by the Ministry of Health to reduce smoking in Spain. However, the 2% annual increase in tax revenues from tobacco comes at a time when cigarette sales are showing a slight decline of 2.9%. This indicates a higher tax burden on tobacco products. Cigarettes contributed the largest share to tobacco tax revenues at €6.33 billion.

Standard packaging

The high tax revenue from tobacco comes just as the Ministry of Health has started the process of introducing standard cigarette packaging. The relevant Royal Decree regulates the production, presentation and sale of tobacco products. It also bans additives in tobacco and related products. The new measure, which has already been introduced in other countries, is encountering a lot of resistance from the tobacco industry. According to the ministry, standard packaging would be effective in discouraging smoking. Regardless of the brand, all cigarette packs will look the same. Only a minimum space is reserved for the brand. Spain is following similar steps as Australia, France, Norway and Denmark.

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Anti-smoking plan

The ministry’s anti-smoking plan also includes aligning regulations for tobacco-related products – such as vaporizers or electronic cigarettes – with those of traditional tobacco. Smoke-free areas will also be expanded. These are considered places “free from diseases associated with smoking”, such as lung cancer.

Daily smoke casualties

In Spain, 140 people die every day due to smoking. At the same time, 460 teenagers start this habit every day. The ministry’s anti-smoking project received support from only five autonomous communities. The rest voted against. Specifically, Catalonia, Canary Islands, Navarra, Asturias and the Basque Country voted in favour. An original proposal has been dropped, namely the ban on smoking in private spaces such as cars in the presence of children or pregnant women.

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