ATHENS – Caught up in an avalanche of tax hikes, higher fees for electronic cigarettes and e-smoking devices is bringing down sales for instruments designed to help people stop smoking, with Greece having one of the highest rates in the European Union.
Part of the tax wave imposed by Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras, who promised to cut them, the tax on vapor products is now 0.10 euro cents per milliliter with the leading e-cigarette company Nobacco saying it has stopped growth in its market and sent buyers toward smuggled products instead.
The tax of amounts to an average of 20 percent of the value of the vapor product. “If you include the Value-Added Tax (VAT) on the product’s final price, then almost 50 percent of it is taxes,” Nobacco Chairman and Chief Executive Markos Markopoulos told Kathimerini.
He said the tax hike has caused a surge in the contraband market that had been curtailed before the increase. “If the rate of contraband tobacco sales comes to 27 percent, for vaping merchandise it exceeds 50 percent,” he said. “This is probably the sole market where the illegal trade takes place inside stores, while illegal tobacco products are sold on sidewalks and in squares,” he said.
The 2017 total tax imposed on vaping products came to 4.5 million euros ($5.28 million) with 2.2 million ($2.58 million paid by Nobacco, which, despite its dominance, doesn’t have half the market.