Heidelberg (Germany) – Taxes on cigarettes in Germany should rise sharply in order to discourage smoking among the young in particular, cancer researchers said on Wednesday.
“We are proposing a tax increase of 30 per cent in three steps,” Ute Mons, Head of the Cancer-prevention Section of the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ), said in the south-western university city of Heidelberg.
Higher prices had a strong deterrent effect, particularly on price-conscious young people; Mons told the DKFZ’s 17th German anti-smoking conference.
Standard cigarettes in Germany cost some 6.50 Euros (7.20 dollars) for a pack of around 20 cigarettes.
Mons called for 2040 to be set as the target for a smoke-free Germany, as Finland has already decided. Increasing taxes was the most effective method, she said.
“Smoking is the most important and avoidable risk factor for non-transmissible diseases, such as cancer, heart and lung illnesses,” she said.
Mons put deaths from smoking – with 26 per cent of men and 18.5 per cent of women in Germany indulging – at 120,000 per year.
Tobias Effertz of Hamburg University estimates that the economic costs of smoking have risen from almost 80 billion euros in 2008 to 97.2 billion euros in 2018.
If these costs were included in the price, it would rise to 14 euros for a pack.