The price of cigarettes in the spotlight after card payment changes

Small stores lamenting the limited money to make cigarettes say there is a fixed price, but an industry spokesperson said on Tuesday that was not true.

“An investigation was carried out in the past by the Commission for the Protection of Competition, which has certified that there is no price agreement between the companies involved,” he said.

The problem came to the fore with the regulatory change on Sunday which meant that stores selling cigarettes must now accept card payments in addition to cash.

Kiosk and Convenience Store Owners Secretary (Sykade) Andreas Englezos, however, said tobacco companies agree to provide the same percentage on prices, which should not be allowed, noting that the heart of the problem lies in the compulsory application of the credit card payment measure.

“The amount that kiosk owners are required to return to card companies results in almost zero profit when it comes to cigarettes. At the same time, supermarkets selling cheaper cigarettes lead to unfair competition. It is only in Cyprus that supermarkets can sell everything, ”he said.

Englezos concluded by saying that the goal of supermarkets is to wipe out small businesses while saying the Commerce Ministry is not responding to their calls for a settlement.

According to the representative of the cigarette distribution company, an effort must be made to find a commonly accepted solution.

“Tobacco products, phone cards and newspapers should be exempt from the measure,” he said.

“There must be an agreement by the state to either exclude product categories or to suspend the measure in specific outlets such as kiosks,” he added.

Tobacco companies are required by law to list prices on cigarette packs and prices are determined only by the state and not by the companies, a tobacco company executive told the Cyprus Mail.

“Usually in the market, prices can deviate as much as € 0.05, there is rarely a larger difference, and suppliers certainly cannot sell them for more than the set prices,” he said. she declared.

Kiosk owners often exercise their right to sell their tobacco products at slightly lower prices, but this basically means that they are not making any profit from their sale because their profit from cigarettes is insignificant.

On the issue of compulsory card payment, she said they were awaiting further developments as there were initiatives from some members of the House who raised the issue at the trade committee meeting.

About Matthew R. Dailey

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