Since the beginning of the 21st century, the Polish tobacco market has been undergoing profound changes. They have been influenced by, among other things, Poland's accession to the European Union, an increase in societal wealth, lifestyle changes, and the introduction of new regulations. Some of these transformations affected the industry. For example, an EU directive obliged on Poland to increase its excise duty and reach a minimum of 60 percent of the retail price. The increase in excise duty impacted the change in sales volumes. It stimulated the development of illicit tobacco production and smuggling, which has resulted in Poland losing billions in tax revenues every year. Nevertheless, the fight against the black economy, the country's economic development, and the gradual affluence of society have allowed the tobacco industry to stabilize and, in the long run, develop dynamically.
Poland a tobacco powerhouse
Poland is the largest exporter of tobacco products in the world. It is also one of the largest manufacturers of tobacco products, such as cigarettes and smoking tobacco, in the EU. Companies such as Philip Morris, Imperial Tobacco, Japan Tobacco International, and British American Tobacco have business premises in Poland.
The tobacco sector is an important segment of the Polish economy. Since 2005, the industry's gross value added has increased fourfold, indicating its growing importance in creating Polish income. Value added is the most commonly used measure of a sector's contribution to a country's GDP. Cigarette production has increased by 48 percent over the last decade. In 2021, the value of the tobacco industry production amounted to over 10.46 billion zloty. Growing exports strongly influenced the increase in production and its value. In 20221, exports amounted to 4.24 billion euros, with a positive trade balance of nearly 3.4 billion euros. The largest recipient of tobacco products from Poland was Germany.
Increasing number of Poles smoke cigarettes
Cigarette consumption per capita in Poland has decreased by nearly 56 percent since 2005. The main contributing factors are promoting healthy lifestyles, restrictions associated with smoking in public places, rising prices, and growing public awareness of how tobacco use impacts health. Nonetheless, over 33 percent of the population in Poland smokes cigarettes, the most significant proportion of which are men and people between 55 and 64 years old. Apart from traditional cigarettes, Poles also prefer electronic cigarettes. New products such as electronic cigarettes and tobacco heaters have been growing interest for several years. Young people between 18 and 24 most often used them. For nearly 60 percent of smokers, e-cigarettes have become a way to quit smoking. The growing popularity of these innovative products is also due to health reasons, taste, and lower prices than traditional cigarettes.
As of November 2016, a revised anti-smoking law is in effect, which implies a total ban on smoking tobacco products and electronic cigarettes in public places.
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