Cigarettes in Czech Republic among the lowest-priced in Europe

Photo: Filip Jandourek

A new study by KPMG, based on data from 2014, reveals cigarettes in the Czech Republic are among the cheapest in Europe. While Czechs, on average, pay 75 crowns for a pack, in Norway, smokers more than three times as much.

Photo: Filip Jandourek
It used to be that the Czech Republic was known for its “cheap beer” but the results of a new study by KPMG suggest the country could also be equally known for cheap cigarettes. Of all its EU neighbours, including Slovakia, the Czech Republic sells cigarettes at the lowest price - 75 crowns per pack. That compares to the equivalent of 81 crowns in Slovakia and Estonia, countries using the European currency, notes news website iDnes. In fact, only two countries in the EU sell cigarettes for less: Bulgaria, for the equivalent of 66 crowns and Lithuania, 66.

The reason is low excise tax. For every 1,000 cigarettes sold in the Czech Republic that equals 86.18 euros compared to 91 euros in Slovakia, 155 euros in Germany. The most expensive cigarettes are in Norway, where a single box of cigarettes comes to the equivalent of a whopping 349 crowns. Of course, it is necessary to take into account higher wages in countries like Norway or Germany; iDnes cites Eurostat numbers from last year: the average monthly salary in Norway is 3,850 euros, that is, more than 100,000 crowns.

The still comparatively low cost of cigarettes in the Czech Republic, however, means there is not nearly as great a demand for illegal or contraband smokes on the Czech market: in 2014, it equalled 3.1 percent of total sales (some 440 million cigarettes Compare that data to the consumption of cigarettes in the Czech Republic last year, which reached 14.29 billion.

The highest sales of illegal cigarettes in Europe, meanwhile, are in Latvia (29.3 percent), Lithuania (28.3 percent) and Greece (20.6 percent).