Morpheus on… What Do Cigarettes Cost?

Well, to MAKE – anywhere from 30-50p (50-80c) a pack, depending on quality.

At the bottom end, you get a soft pack, filled with cigarettes containing so-so tobacco – and at the top end, shiny “crushproof” boxes with high-end tobacco.

But what you PAY will be higher – sometimes a hell of a LOT higher.

And, now that cigarette advertising is almost universally banned, most of that difference goes straight to the GOVERNMENT (you know, those people who tell you smoking is BAD for you).

However, the money they extort from you varies widely, from country to country.

Here in Thailand, I pay about 80p (a buck thirty) a pack, for a Thai mid-priced brand.

I COULD pay up to one pound fifty (two dollars forty) for a Western name-brand pack – but since they are made here under license and are much the same as the local ones, that would be a waste of money.

Although with an EDF (economic differential factor) of 5:1 compared to the cost of living in my old country – England – this equates to about four pounds (six dollars forty). Therefore even though they are, in real terms, half the price of those sold in England, that still leaves room for smuggling. So you can find “unofficial imports” from Laos selling in rural convenience stores (mom-and-pop shops) for as little as 20p (32c) a pack.

And around the Second and Third World, this story is repeated.

However in the West, cigarette prices STILL vary widely. When I lived in England, I used to make an annual pilgrimage to Portugal, where I could LEGALLY (for my own use, under the terms of the Single European Agreement) purchase 10,000 (a year’s supply, for me) locally-made smokes for a THIRD the cost of British ones.

AND I did not have to suffer the aggravation of Customs at Dover, who clamber all OVER day-trippers returning from booze-and-fag runs to Calais (where they are only slightly cheaper anyway).

In rip-off Britain, 20 fags currently cost a thumping SEVEN POUNDS FIFTY (twelve dollars even) a pack. This means that a single cigarette in the UK costs more than a WHOLE PACK, in Laos! But lest the British should think themselves alone in being thus abused, the story is actually WORSE elsewhere.

In America (where anti-smoking paranoia BEGAN) they pay seven pounds EIGHTY (twelve dollars fifty) a pack in New York – although predictably, the price drops to two pounds eighty-five (four dollars fifty-five) in VIRGINIA!

But it gets worse: in the Antipodes (Australia and New Zealand) cigarettes cost a stonking EIGHT pounds fifty (thirteen bucks sixty) a pack. Struth, mate!

However, my research (which stops WAY short of checking the 200-plus countries of the World) found that King Of The Cigarette Rip-off Countries was… Norway!

If the population of that country contains a significant percentage of smokers – they FINANCE the place. A pack of smokes in Norway will set you back a MASSIVE… NINE POUNDS SEVENTY (fifteen dollars fifty). Nearly A TENNER A PACK!

And all this from a product that costs between 30-50p (50-80c) to make, remember.


So if you want to get rich quick, forget about smuggling recreational DRUGS. Just buy a tramp steamer, chug up the Mekong to Laos, fill the hold with CIGARETTES…

…and head for NORWAY!


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