Tobacco may soon be banned in duty-free zones throughout Europe. In any case, such is the proposition adopted by the European deputy Younous Omarjee. The goal is to limit the sale of smuggled cigarettes throughout the European Union. The measure would also prevent tobacconists from selling their products at a lower cost.
Younous Omarjee, a member of the political party La France Insoumise, wants to regulate duty free zones. Duty-free zones are free to sell numerous products at a reduced price, including cigarette cartons. For the European deputy, the sale of duty-free tobacco at such low prices incentivizes the black market.
Although only 12% of global cigarette sales are illegal, duty-free zones help smugglers. The spotlight given to duty free cigarettes also appears to be a problem, since the dangers of tobacco should come with an active attempt to deter consumption.
Putting an end to a parallel tobacco market
The ban of cigarettes in duty free zones is not Younous Omarjee’s only idea. The deputy devised other propositions in his “Tobacco Black Book.” The goal is to coordinate the price of cigarettes in all countries throughout the European Union.
To combat smuggling, each person is limited to importing a single carton of cigarettes. These measures would make it possible to greatly limit the black market in European member states. Last year, the tobacco black market was responsible for between 10 and 20 billion Euros in uncollected taxes.
The black market for tobacco is a widespread phenomenon in France and throughout the world. A recent study showed that 25% of all cigarettes in the Haute-de-France region of France were purchased abroad. It remains to be seen if various proposals to combat the black market will be adopted.