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Manufactured tobacco: harmonisation of the structure of excise duties in several stages

This Directive harmonises the structures of the excise duty on tobacco products such as cigarettes, cigars, cigarillos and smoking tobacco as part of the internal market of the European Union (EU). In doing so, the application in EU countries of taxes affecting the consumption of these manufactured tobacco products will neither distort competition nor obstruct free movement within the EU.


Council Directive 95/59/EC of 27 November 1995 on taxes other than turnover taxes which affect the consumption of manufactured tobacco [See amending act(s)].


This Directive sets out the principles and rules for the harmonisation of the structures of the excise duty on manufactured tobacco within the European Union (EU). It lays down a two-stage plan for harmonising the taxation arrangements affecting the consumption of manufactured tobacco.

The manufactured tobacco products affected by this Directive are:

  • cigarettes;
  • cigars and cigarillos;
  • smoking tobacco (fine-cut tobacco for the rolling of cigarettes and other smoking tobacco).

Cigarettes manufactured in the EU and those imported from non-EU countries are subject to a proportional ("ad valorem") excise duty which is calculated on the basis of the maximum retail selling price, inclusive of all taxes, and also to a specific excise duty calculated per unit of the product. The rate of the proportional excise duty and the amount of the specific excise duty are applicable for all cigarettes. Furthermore, the range of retail selling prices reflects the differences in the manufacturers' delivery prices.

Manufacturers or their representatives in the EU and importers of tobacco from non-EU countries are free to determine the maximum retail selling price for their products in each EU country where the product is sold. This can not, however, obstruct the implementation of national legislation concerning the control of price level or the observance of imposed prices, when this is compatible with EU legislation.

EU countries are responsible for setting out the conditions and formalities for granting excise exemptions and refunds for certain manufactured tobacco products.


ActEntry into force and expiry dateDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 95/59/EC



OJ L 291 of 6.12.1995

Amending act(s)Entry into force and expiry dateDeadline for transposition in the Member StatesOfficial Journal
Directive 1999/81/EC



OJ L 211 of 11.8.1999

Directive 2002/10/EC



OJ L 46 of 16.2.2002

Directive 2010/12/EU



OJ L 50 of 27.2.2010


Council Directive 92/79/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the approximation of taxes on cigarettes [Official Journal L 316 of 31.10.1992].

Council Directive 92/80/EEC of 19 October 1992 on the approximation of taxes on manufactured tobacco other than cigarettes [Official Journal L 316 of 31.10.1992].

Last updated: 09.07.2010

See also

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