Smokers in Bulgaria will pay an average of one lev more for a packet from April 1 2010, when the increased cigarette prices come into force.From April 1 2010, shops can only sell cigarettes with the new excise stamps and anyone caught selling cigarettes at their old price will face sanctions of up to 2000 leva. The cigarette packets with old excise stamps will be destroyed.
This means that the most popular Bulgarian brand, Victory, will now cost 4.60 leva a packet. A Marlboro pack will cost five leva, while a pack of Kent cigarettes will cost 4.80 leva and a pack of Viceroy brand will cost 4.30 leva.The King and Merilyn brands will cost 4.20 leva and 4.30 leva a packet, respectively, while the Esse Slims brand will cost 4.70 leva.The increase is between one lev and 1.40 leva in all brands, Bulgarian and foreign. It is a result of the increased excise duty on cigarettes, which, according to the Finance Ministry, would not only bring 130 million leva to the Budget, which can be used for health care, but will reduce the number of smokers in Bulgaria.
The decision was taken at the end of 2009 and shops and traders had three months to sell all quantities with the old excise stamps. Already media reports have shown that cigarettes sales had started going down with many people turning to rolling tobacco.Tobacco business representatives have critisied the idea of raising the excise duty, saying that it would only stimulate contraband and will not bring the expected revenue to the Budget.