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Tobacco Taxation in the European Union


  • Sijbren Cnossen


Later this year, the European Commission has to submit a report to the Council of Ministers and the European Parliament with its views on tobacco tax policy in the EU. A 2004 publication issued by the Commission expressed the beliefs that tobacco consumption should be controlled by increasing tobacco excises and that harmonization should proceed on the basis of specific rates. This article reviews and evaluates EU tobacco tax policies. It supports the move towards specific taxation, but notes that there are conceptual and empirical limits to increasingly high tobacco taxes. Smokers appear to pay their way, and cigarette smuggling is a growing menace to health and revenue objectives.

Suggested Citation

  • Sijbren Cnossen, 2006. "Tobacco Taxation in the European Union," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 62(2), pages 305-322, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:mhr:finarc:urn:sici:0015-2218(200606)62:2_305:ttiteu_2.0.tx_2-m
    DOI: 10.1628/001522106X120686

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Barzel, Yoram, 1976. "An Alternative Approach to the Analysis of Taxation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 84(6), pages 1177-1197, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Donald A. P. Bundy & Nilanthi de Silva & Susan Horton & Dean T. Jamison & George C. Patton, 2017. "Disease Control Priorities, Third Edition," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 28876.
    2. Bas Jacobs, 2013. "From Optimal Tax Theory to Applied Tax Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 4151, CESifo Group Munich.
    3. Peter Schwarz, 2009. "Optionen einer rationalen Regulierung des Tabakkonsums: Die Vorteile eines liberalen Paternalismus," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 10(2), pages 235-251, May.
    4. Odermatt, Reto & Stutzer, Alois, 2015. "Smoking bans, cigarette prices and life satisfaction," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 44(C), pages 176-194.
    5. Keuschnigg, Christian & Loretz, Simon & Winner, Hannes, 2014. "Tax Competition and Tax Coordination in the European Union: A Survey," Economics Working Paper Series 1427, University of St. Gallen, School of Economics and Political Science.
    6. Christian Ben Lakhdar & Nicolas Gérard Vaillant & François-Charles Wolff, 2016. "Does smoke cross the border? Cigarette tax avoidance in France," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(9), pages 1073-1089, December.
    7. Haavio, Markus & Kotakorpi, Kaisa, 2011. "The political economy of sin taxes," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 55(4), pages 575-594, May.
    8. Hiroaki Yamagami, 2009. "Health Effects, Tax Deductions for Medical Expenditure, and the Double Dividend," FinanzArchiv: Public Finance Analysis, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen, vol. 65(1), pages 105-121, March.
    9. repec:kap:jincot:v:17:y:2017:i:4:d:10.1007_s10842-017-0244-5 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item


    tobacco taxation; European Union;

    JEL classification:

    • H2 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
    • H8 - Public Economics - - Miscellaneous Issues


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