An Estonian importer of tobacco-free snus said that over 20,000 boxes of the nicotine product have been sold in Estonia in recent weeks, on which the state has likely earned some €100,000 in excise duties. The Tax and Customs Board (MTA), however, said that it is too early yet to provide an estimate of the tax revenue earned.
"Before now, snus was only distributed by dealers on the black market," Peter Puks, CEO of tobacco-free snus importer Foxtrot Uniform Capital OÜ, said in a press release. "The estimated volume of the black market was around €2 million, which is why I would estimate that the state has earned some €100,000 in tax revenue in the past two to three weeks alone."
Previously, the retail sale of snus was prohibited, and the alternative nicotine products were only available on the black market. A few weeks ago, however, the retail sale of tobacco-free nicopods was introduced.
According to officials, there are some 30,000 snus users in Estonia. Puks, however, estimates the actual user base to be at least twice as big, if not three times.
MTA spokesperson Rainer Laurits said that it is too early to estimate the size of tax receipts from tobacco-free snus sales, as the excise duty on the product introduced to the market last month will not be paid until Aug. 20.
Laurits also noted that it was likewise too soon to say yet whether tobacco-free nicopods would partially replace the illegal snus market.
"Our goal, naturally, is that the requirements stipulated by law are met in the handling of these products," Laurits told BNS.
Editor: Aili Vahtla