Will tobacco prices rise in Azerbaijan?

By Amina Nazarli

Since the beginning of 2015, tobacco prices have not yet increased in Azerbaijan, said Rufat Guliyev, Chairman of the European Tobacco Baku (ETB) Company.

The Azerbaijani Parliament approved amendments to the Tax Code, connecting with the increase of the share of tax for tobacco and tobacco products in late December 2014.

In accordance with the amendments to Tax Code, the share of tax for 1,000 cigarettes, as well as cheroots and cigarillos (thin cigarettes) is set in the amount of 10 manats ($12.75). For cigarettes and its substitutes, the figure is four manats for 1,000 pieces.

Guliyev noted that in Azerbaijan, tobacco prices are still the lowest in the former Soviet Union and around the world.

“Tobacco products’ pricing will now be carried out in accordance with the new mechanism. To understand how this mechanism works, we should first learn it. This issue will be cleared up in near future,” he said.

Guliyev also added that an increase in excise tax rates will have an impact on the cost of cigarettes.

“However, now it is too early to say how new tax rates will impact tobacco prices. The market price of cigarettes is affected by a number of factors, and we need a little time to make any concrete conclusion on how prices should change. So far, no change is observed in cigarette prices in Azerbaijan,” he said.

Earlier, the share of excise tax on tobacco products was 12.5 percent, while in Russia it reaches 40 percent and in Great Britain, up to 70 percent.

Most of the smoking population in Azerbaijan are men. About 50 percent of men in the country smoke daily, 40 percent of them smoke at least one or two packs of 20 cigarettes per day.

Musa Guliyev, a member of the Parliamentary Committee has offered to fine people who smoke at home near children and in the doorways of houses.

Guliyev underlined the necessity of adopting a law restricting smoking in public places as part of the law "On tobacco and tobacco products", which was adopted in Azerbaijan in 2001.