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The World Vapers’ Alliance (WVA), a global vaping consumer advocacy group, has great concern for the Hungarian Government’s draft decree which aims to amend the current regulation of nicotine pouches and vaping.
The proposed regulations, if enacted, would introduce restrictions that may hinder access to safer alternatives for smokers and harm reduction options, according to an emailed press release.
There are roughly 2.5 million smokers in Hungary. The EU country has been incrementally increasing tobacco taxes for the last few years, and recent findings of joint research by Pulzus Inc. and economic news portal napi.hu, found that reactions to the tax increments vary. “23% of smokers claimed that this increased price was already too high, and would quit smoking. [...] Meanwhile, the EU and the Hungarian state keep pushing to further tobacco restrictions and a regulation requiring that cigarette packs are only sold in plain packaging is to go in effect this January. [...]
In the past two decades, our accession to the European Union has also brought changes: in a duty-free world, there was no longer a need for so many local manufacturers, and in 2004 several large Hungarian factories closed down immediately. Then Hungary had to adjust to EU tax minima, which meant a 100% increase in consumer prices over eight years, even in a decade of low inflation. The regulation of tobacco shops has also completely rewritten the sector. [...]
Hungary once again raised the excise tax on tobacco, taking the price of a pack of cigarettes to historic heights. According to a survey, this could eventually drive many to give up cigarettes.
After failing to comply with the EU regulations on the tobacco excise tax for years, it was eventually the Court of Justice of the European Union’s (CJEU) recent statement that drove Hungary to hike the tobacco tax. While the EU reasoned that by failing to reach the threshold, Hungary was distorting competition within the bloc and violating EU health protection regulations, the government said it wanted a gradual hike [...]
Coming into effect on the 1st of March, a lower excise tax on nicotine-containing e-liquids has dropped prices from HUF 55 per ml, to HUF 20 per ml. In Hungary, black market sales are thought to account for approximately 80 to 85% of all e-liquid sales, and BAT has estimated that while there are approximately 200,000 e-cigarette users in the country, many of whom may be unaware that they are purchasing unregulated products. “Hungarian e-cigarette consumers need to be given a chance to access quality refill liquids, just like in other European countries,” says Zoltán Orosz, [...]
A legislation coming into effect on March 1 is set to lower the excise tax on e-cigarette liquids that contain nicotine, meaning that prices are expected to drop at national tobacco shops. The tax will be lowered from the current HUF 55 per ml to HUF 20 per ml.
BAT Pécsi Dohány Gyár Kft., a subsidiary of BAT, says that it welcomes the decision, as it does not only make higher-quality products more accessible but help fighting black market liquid sales. Currently, black market sales account for an outstandingly high 80-85% of all e-cigarette liquid sales in Hungary, according to estimates by BAT.
Hungary was allowed a long transitional period until December 31, 2017, in order to gradually increase the excise duty on cigarettes and reach the required minimum threshold, recalled a press release on the Commission website.
Currently, the excise duty applied by Hungary remains below the EU threshold, generating distortions of competition with other Member States, and is at odds with EU health protection policy, it noted.