August 31, 2020 – From October, you’ll only be able to bring 2 packs of cigarettes or 50 grams of tobacco into Croatia from countries outside the EU, say new proposals. Day trips across the Bosnian or Serbian border for cheap smokes will be a lot less cost-effective.
Croatians who smoke and who live within easy driving distance of the Bosnian or Serbian border have had it good for quite a while. They’ve been able to skip across to the other side, pick up their smokes for the week, and save a lot of money by doing so.
This wasn’t really illegal, but these golden days will be over from October 2020. Under new proposals, you’ll only be able to bring 2 packs of cigarettes into Croatia from any non-EU country. The new proposals reduce the amount previously considered personal luggage by five times. You can currently carry 10 packs (200 cigarettes) across the border. 2 packs (40 cigarettes) is considerably less and will make the journey much less cost-effective.
The new proposals also extend to rolling tobacco in the same percentages. Instead of the current 250 grams of tobacco you’re currently permitted to bring into the country from outside the EU, the amount will be reduced to just 50 grams.
Annual cigarette consumption in Croatia is a lot bigger than 2 packs of cigarettes. It is estimated at more than 300 million packs. The latest estimates say that around 7% of consumption uses non-taxable cigarettes. Such non-taxable tobacco products usually carry the tax stamp of Bosnia and Herzegovina, sometimes Serbia, and sometimes no stamp at all. This non-taxable section of the total is estimated to be worth between 500 and 600 million kuna.
Last year, the Croatian state budget collected 5.11 billion kuna from tobacco excise duties. In more than 16.2 billion of total excise revenues, only those from petroleum products are higher.
Although it is calculated that smoking in Croatia is decreasing in popularity, thanks, in part to anti-smoking health campaigns and rising prices, state revenues from tobacco excise duties have actually grown over the past five years.
Between excise duties and VAT, the Croatian state budget collects close to six and a half billion kuna from the sale of cigarettes and tobacco. This is almost 8% of the total tax revenues of the state budget.