Tuesday March 4, 2010
BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Court of Justice has ruled that France, Austria and Ireland are breaking EU law by imposing a minimum price on cigarettes, dismissing the defence that such measures protect public health.
The European Commission or EU executive had taken the countries to court for fixing a minimum price for cigarettes and tobacco.
A smoker lights a cigarette on a street in Paris August 6, 2007. The European Court of Justice has ruled that France, Austria and Ireland are breaking EU law by imposing a minimum price on cigarettes, dismissing the defence that such measures protect public health. (REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Files)
On Thursday, the European court said that the countries would have to find other ways to combat smoking and that imposing minimum prices would warp competition in the market.
In a statement, the court said "a system of minimum retail selling prices for tobacco products cannot be regarded as compatible (with EU law) unless it (ensures) the competitive advantage ... for some manufacturers and importers of those products from lower cost prices is not impaired."
It said countries like Ireland, which seek to discourage smoking by pushing up the price of cigarettes, were still free to impose heavy taxes on tobacco.
e-Tobaccos.com coment: the good news is that it proves how unfair taxes on tobacco are, but the bad news is that confirms that countries are free to increase even more tobacco taxes... more reasons to get cheaper tobacco from us ;)