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Cigarette sales grow in Germany in first half of 2023

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DPA/The Local - [email protected]
Cigarette sales grow in Germany in first half of 2023
Peter Krall, owner of the Hofbräu Raucher Stüberl, and his sister Birgit light up their cigarettes. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Axel Heimken

After a significant decline last year, cigarette sales have rebounded slightly in 2023, but the long-term trend suggests Germany’s heavy smoking days are coming to an end.

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Tobacco sales increased by approximately three percent between January and July in 2023, compared to the same period last year, according to Jan Mücke, CEO of the German Association of the Tobacco Industry and New Product (BVTE).

Speaking at the start of the Intertabac trade fair in Dortmund, Mücke characterised the growth as a modest increase in light of last year's 8.3 percent decrease.

Mücke attributed the 2023 uptick to the early start of summer, which prompted people to spend more time outdoors and, in some cases, to smoke outside.

OPINION: Why can't Germany cut out its smoking habit?

However, in a broader perspective, cigarette consumption in Germany has long been in decline. According to industry estimates, 145 billion taxed cigarettes were sold in 2002, compared to 66 billion last year.

Mücke said Germany was at a historic low for cigarette sales, and this downward trend was expected to continue.

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Mücke advocated for "reduced-risk products," including heated tobacco products, e-cigarettes, and nicotine pouches designed for oral use. The tobacco industry aims to continue profitable business with these products in the future.

Despite the clear downward trend, the World Health Organisation criticised Germany recently for doing too little to curb smoking in public.

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