The measure is part of Brussels' effort to reduce the smoking rate in the European bloc, and moving forward plans to increase the minimum excise tax on cigarettes from €1.80 to €3.60 for every pack of 20 cigarettes, which will cause a significant rise in prices in Eastern European countries, where packs are sold for less than €3.

In addition, the new tax regime is intended to align the taxation of new tobacco products, such as vaping and heated tobacco, with traditional cigarettes. Brussels’ goal is for the strongest vaping to have a special tax of at least 40%, while the weakest would stay at 20%. Heated tobacco will also be hit, with a 50% tax or fee of €91 for every 1,000 heated tobacco cigarettes sold, according to the Financial Times.

Speaking to the British newspaper, Alberto Alemanno, professor of European law, stresses that the absence of an excise tax framework for heated tobacco and vaping in the EU is “weakening efforts to control tobacco”. If so, the increase in the excise tax on cigarettes will bring in additional revenue of €9.3 billion for Member States.