Cigarettes and alcohol could well jump in price by 50 percent if a new government proposal is accepted. A new Health bill has been proposed and it includes a 50 percent increase in cigarette and strong alcohol products. The Ministry of Health has put forward the plan that the money raised from this extra tax on cigarettes would be paid directly to the Ministry budget to be spent on general health issues.
Cigarette prices in Croatia are some of the cheapest in Europe, which has certainly not helped to decrease the number of smokers in the country. In fact, Croatia is the only country in the European Union where the number of smokers is on the rise. Whilst a packet of 20 Marlboro cigarettes in Ireland, the most expensive country in the EU for cigarettes, will set you back 85.7 Kuna the same packet in Croatia is only 26 Kuna on average. Meaning that even with a 50 percent price increase a packet of Marlboro will still be considerably cheaper than most of Europe at 39 Kuna.
The Croatian Employers Association (HUP) strongly oppose the government's announcements of taxes which would raise cigarette and alcohol prices by about 50 percent, saying this could result in losses for tobacco and alcohol producers and the state budget as well as layoffs.
Introducing preventative taxes through amendments to the Compulsory Health Insurance Act is unacceptable, as it will jeopardise jobs in the tobacco and alcohol industries and encourage black market sales, said HUP director general Davor Majetic in a press release.