A packet of cigarettes could soon cost 50 percent more in Denmark

Denmark’s Liberal party says it will try to gather a parliamentary majority in support of raising the price of a packet of cigarettes to 60 kroner (8 euros), should the government not take the step itself.

A packet of cigarettes could soon cost 50 percent more in Denmark
Photo: Vibeke Toft/Ritzau Scanpix

An increase in the price of a packet of cigarettes to 60 kroner (8 euros) – around 20 kroner more than the current price – must be included in the autumn budget, the Liberal party says.

“We want to make sure of a much higher level of ambition than the government is currently seems to be showing. Children, the elderly and smoking do not belong together, and something must be done now,” health spokesperson Sophie Løhde told Berlingske.

Prior to the election, parliament broadly agreed on a price increase on cigarettes, but the government wants to limit that to a phased raise to 50 kroner per packet over three years, according to a report by Altinget.

But the Social Democrat spokesperson for health Jesper Petersen subsequently told Berlingske that the Altinget report did not reflect the government’s policy or planned proposal within the budget.

Left-wing allies of the government also support an increase in cigarette prices, with the Social Liberals preferring 70 kroner per packet. The party’s spokesperson Nils Sjøberg told Altinget they would accept 60 kroner as “better than nothing”.

READ ALSO: Number of smokers in Denmark up for first time in 20 years

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Danish government to increase price of cigarettes

Denmark’s government says it should be more expensive to buy cigarettes in the Scandinavian country and has proposed raising the price of a packet to 50 kroner (6.70 euros).

Danish government to increase price of cigarettes
File photo: Liselotte Sabroe/Ritzau Scanpix

The price hike from the current 40 kroner will take place in two stages, with a 5 krone increase in both 2020 and 2021, according to Danish media reports.

Several parties in the country’s parliament have expressed their desire to raise cigarette prices, but social and health minister Magnus Heunicke said he was concerned about the social impact of a steep increase.

“We can’t have different prices in Denmark. For young people, that is a lot of money, so we think this is the right level,” the minister said to the Danmark media.

The price raise is part of a wider range of proposals to be presented by the government aimed at reducing the number of young people who smoke. Other elements include neutral packaging and a ban on displaying cigarettes in stores.

Heunicke also called for stricter application of the law preventing cigarette sales to under 18s and harsher fines for illegal sales.

Opposition health spokesperson Sophie Løhde of the Liberal party said the increase proposed by the Social Democrat government did not go far enough.

“I’m very disappointed. The health minister seems to think he’s the tax minister and that revenues [from taxing tobacco sales, ed.] are more important than the goal of making young people and children smoke-free,” Løhde said.

The Liberals recently called for a price increase to 60 kroner per packet of cigarettes.

Løhde also said there may be enough support amongst other parties for a parliamentary majority to get behind a higher price increase, even without government support.

READ ALSO: A packet of cigarettes could soon cost 50 percent more in Denmark