Popular Science | The Ten Best Places to Buy Cheap Cigarettes in the World

by | Dec 8, 2023

Smoking has profound effects on individuals, causing habitual smokers to have a significantly shorter life expectancy, estimated to be about 10 years shorter than non-smokers. Over the past three decades, more than 200 million people have died from smoking. If current trends continue, tobacco-related deaths are expected to reach approximately 1 billion this century.

Analysis from a global perspective shows a downward trend in smoking rates among individuals living in rich and less affluent countries. This noteworthy shift marks a favorable advance for global public health. Smoking-related mortality has declined in many countries, suggesting that effective public policy can offset the vested interests of large corporations. Several factors have been identified as contributing to the decline in cigarette consumption. These include high taxes on cigarettes, bans on tobacco advertising, support for smokers and smoking bans in public places. Government action plays a key role in addressing smoking-related deaths, particularly among inactive smokers.

Furthermore, cigarette prices affect smoking, as higher prices are an important reason why people in low-income countries want to smoke. This price could be used to make people in the poorer world less likely to smoke.

To determine the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes in the world, we looked at 8 different sources. The source must discuss the price, availability, or how cheap cigarettes are compared to cigarettes from other countries. While cigarette costs were considered in all countries when compiling this list, another factor considered was the frequency with which each country was mentioned in the eight sources. A ranking system was then created, first considering the frequency of mentions in the eight articles and then determining the ranking based on the average price of a pack of cigarettes in each country.

The Ten Best Places to Buy Cheap Cigarettes in the World 750x500 1

The Ten Best Places to Buy Cheap Cigarettes in the World

1. Zimbabwe

Price Per Pack: $2.38/0.006 USD

Zimbabwe is one of the cheapest places to buy cigarettes in the world. Zimbabwe is the leading producer of tobacco in Africa and ranks fourth in global tobacco production. Since the establishment of the British colonial government in 1889, the nation has been engaged in the cultivation and production of tobacco. Virginia flue-cured tobacco emerged as the predominant variety within the United States tobacco business, characterized by its distinctive style. Nevertheless, the production of tobacco experienced a fall after the attainment of independence in 1965. Following the establishment of a black-majority government in 1979, there was a resurgence in the cultivation activities of white farmers, leading to a notable increase in tobacco production. The matters of land expropriation and subsequent transfer to black settlers held significant importance. In 2005, a contractual system was implemented to facilitate the acquisition of tobacco crops by purchasers while also enabling them to offer necessary inputs. Moreover, the entry of China into Zimbabwe’s tobacco business resulted in an increase in prices and the enhancement of farmer contracts. In 2016, Tian Ze implemented a policy of providing interest-free loans to tobacco growers, resulting in a significant increase in production. The tobacco harvest of 2018, which amounted to 258 million kg, achieved a record high following the implementation of land reform. This production level came close to the previous peak of 260 million kg recorded in 1998. The contracting of 80% of Zimbabwe’s 2016 tobacco harvest demonstrates the business’s extensive transformation. In 2000, European and American businesses bought a sizable portion of Zimbabwe’s tobacco harvest; in 2015, however, almost 54% of the harvest went to China.

2. Kazakhstan

Price Per Pack: 539 KZT/1.15 USD

Ranking 2nd in our list of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes in the world is Kazakhstan. In Kazakhstan, a cross-sectional study revealed that tobacco smoking emerged as the second most significant risk factor contributing to mortality, responsible for 15.4% of the overall fatalities recorded in the year 2019. According to data from 2019, the prevalence of tobacco use among the adult population was 20.4%. Specifically, 36.5% of men and 6.0% of women reported daily consumption of tobacco products. The research revealed that a significant proportion of the male population, specifically 93.8%, and a considerable portion of the female population, specifically 80.2%, engage in the habitual use of tobacco products daily. Furthermore, it was observed that the commencement of smoking typically commences as early as six years of age. The smoking prevalence in Kazakhstan stands at 20.8%, indicating that one out of every five adults engages in tobacco consumption. The government has enacted policies aimed at mitigating exposure to tobacco smoke within enclosed public spaces and increasing tobacco taxes as a means to curtail tobacco consumption. Kazakhstan lands itself as one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes.

3. Vietnam

Price Per Pack: 30,447 ₫/ 1.24 USD

A prevalent aspect of Vietnam’s smoking culture is the customary use of cigarettes as a means of salutation. Vietnam is also one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes. Tobacco smoke, nevertheless, is responsible for more than one hundred fatalities daily and claims 40,000 lives annually. Thuoc Lao, a traditional tobacco that is prevalent in rural and minority communities, has been prohibited in urban areas on account of the health hazards it poses. Smoking is prohibited in educational institutions, hospitals, and public transportation but is permitted in rural areas. To combat the smoking epidemic, Vietnam has ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, which mandates health warnings, prohibits tobacco advertisements, and increases tobacco tariffs. In 2013, the government initiated the National Strategy on Tobacco Control with the objective of reducing the prevalence of smoking among young people. Vietnam is renowned for its rich history, varied experiences, and mild, arid climate.

4. Philippines

Price Per Pack: P82.49 per pack (1.47 USD)

Cigarette smoking is a popular pastime in the Philippines, with many people starting to smoke at a young age. A factor contributing to the prevalence of smoking in the country is the affordability of cigarettes. As a consequence, the Philippines ranks as one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes. Tobacco consumption is widely recognized as the primary contributor to avoidable mortality on a global scale, resulting in an approximate annual death toll of 5 million individuals. The Republic of the Philippines faces a significant public health challenge due to the prevalence of tobacco consumption and the associated risks of second-hand smoke exposure. The Philippines approved the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) in 2005, which includes several tobacco control measures that have been shown to be successful. Bloomberg Philanthropies has provided support for the expeditious decrease of tobacco consumption in various nations, including the Philippines, since 2007. Republic Act 9211 has been enacted in the Philippines with the aim of fostering a salubrious environment and safeguarding individuals from the perils associated with tobacco smoking. Nevertheless, there are still considerable obstacles that need to be tackled in the next few years in order to mitigate the societal, health-related, and economic ramifications stemming from the tobacco pandemic. The Republic of the Philippines has enacted legislation aimed at curbing smoking and is actively engaged in efforts to combat the influence exerted by the tobacco industry on governmental policy.

5. Timor-Leste

Price Per Pack: 1.50 USD

East Timor has a significantly high prevalence of smoking, positioning it among the countries with the highest rates globally. East Timor is one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes. Approximately two-thirds of the male population in East Timor is afflicted with an addiction to smoking. Tobacco constitutes an integral aspect of the socio-cultural landscape in East Timor, where the majority of cigarette products are priced at a modest sum of under $1 a packet. The majority of cigarette packages feature health warnings; nevertheless, these messages often fail to resonate with a significant portion of smokers due to the fact that around 50% of the adult population lacks the ability to read. The educational institutions in East Timor lack comprehensive health education programs pertaining to smoking, whereas establishments such as bars, restaurants, hotel lobbies, and cafes consistently have an environment saturated with smoke. Moreover, the rising prevalence of youth smokers in East Timor, Indonesia, has emerged as a pressing issue for both the government and the tobacco industry. A subset of these individuals falls between the age range of 10 and 11 years old. Nevertheless, the hospitals in East Timor are currently not experiencing a significant influx of patients afflicted with smoking-related illnesses, primarily due to the relatively short duration of cigarette smoking among the younger population, which has not allowed for the incubation of such disorders.

6. Turkey

Price Per Pack: 47TL/ 1.64 USD

The prevalence of smoking among adults in Turkey is significant, contributing significantly to the deterioration of public health. Considering that Turkey is one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes, the prevalence of smoking in the country can be attributed to the affordability of cigarettes in the country. Specifically, around one-fourth of the adult population engages in daily smoking habits. The production and importation of electronic cigarettes are prohibited, restricting the legal manufacturing and sale of only combustible cigarettes that emit harmful smoke. The issue at hand is further aggravated by the World Health Organization’s inadequate administration, inefficacious customs and border procedures, and collusion with the tobacco industry. The Turkish tobacco sector is confronted with mounting challenges arising from the proliferation of illicit tobacco products, notably outdoor heaters. The prohibition of smoking has faced criticism due to its potential implications for both the environment and human health. The illicit commerce of Roll Your Own and waterpipe tobacco products has experienced a notable expansion, prompting the country to adopt laws aimed at addressing the unlawful sale of e-cigarettes. Nevertheless, despite the implementation of the ban, it appears that the air quality has not significantly improved, as the industry is confronted with escalating expenses and obstacles.

7. Russia

Price Per Pack: руб. 190/2.06 USD

Russia ranks 7th in our list of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes. Additionally, it also ranks among the cheapest country to buy cigarettes in Europe. Since English merchants introduced tobacco to Russia in the 1560s, smoking has had a significant historical presence in the country. As more women adopted the habit, smoking continued to expand and disseminate despite the Soviet Union’s condemnation. In the 1920s, the Soviet Communist regime initiated an antismoking campaign that met with limited success. In 1990, protests and public outrage ensued in major cities in response to a cigarette shortage. Western tobacco brands have supplanted traditional papirosa in the old tobacco industry, which was acquired by American companies for 75%. Despite being innovative, the Eastern Europe and USSR crisis jeopardized the Soviet Union’s anti-smoking campaign, which ultimately resulted in the demise of the industry. Given that smoking rates per capita in Russia are among the highest in the world, the country represents a lucrative market for tobacco companies. In 2013, the government implemented smoking bans in response to high mortality rates, lax legislation, and lobbying influence. The tobacco industry has encountered difficulties in regulating smoking prevalence and encouraging conscientious tobacco consumption.

8. Egypt

Price Per Pack: E£ 65/ 2.10 USD

The prevalence of smoking in Egypt is extensive, as over 20% of the populace engages in regular tobacco consumption. Cigarettes represent the predominant mode of tobacco consumption, accounting for an estimated annual consumption of 20 billion units. In 2005, the Egyptian government enacted legislation that imposed a ban on smoking in public areas and mandated the inclusion of certain cautionary labels on tobacco packaging. The Eastern Tobacco Company holds a prominent position within the tobacco business; however, the cultivation of tobacco is outlawed, necessitating a reliance on imported tobacco. The prevalence of tobacco use among adults in Egypt is observed to be increasing, with certain estimates indicating an annual growth rate of up to 5%. Law No. 52 of 1981 serves as the fundamental basis for later legislation pertaining to tobacco. In Egypt, the prevalence of smoking among men is over 40%, but women have a significantly lower smoking rate of less than 2%. It is anticipated that the incidence of smoking among women will rise as a result of the erosion of cultural norms, the enhanced financial capabilities of women, and the deliberate efforts by tobacco firms to appeal to women as a novel consumer demographic. Due to this, Egypt ranks as one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes.

9. Liberia

Price Per Pack: 424 L$/ 2.25 USD

The country of Liberia has a 12.5% tobacco prevalence rate and a 1.8% youth smoking prevalence rate, both of which show that the tobacco industry there is facing significant negative health and economic effects. A factor in this is that Liberia is one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes. The government’s lack of proactive measures in addressing the tobacco epidemic contributes to the preservation of the industry, resulting in an escalating mortality rate. The utilization of tobacco in Liberia poses detrimental effects on both the public and fiscal health, hence jeopardizing endeavors to enhance equity, alleviate poverty, and safeguard the environment. The tobacco supply chain generates substantial revenues through the production and sale of tobacco; nevertheless, it also entails considerable adverse health and economic consequences for Liberia. As a consequence, Liberia has enacted a range of tobacco control measures in response to the tobacco pandemic, encompassing the establishment of designated smoke-free zones, the provision of cessation services, the implementation of nicotine replacement treatment, and the establishment of a nationwide quit line. Liberia has adopted restrictions pertaining to the advertising, marketing, and sponsorship of tobacco products, but without imposing outright or comprehensive bans.

10. Uzbekistan

Price Per Pack: 41,518 сўм/ 3.36 USD

Uzbekistan is one of the 10 best places to buy cheap cigarettes. As a consequence, the smoking prevalence in the country is undeniable. According to recent data released by the government of Uzbekistan, it has been reported that approximately 23% of males and 1% of females in the country are engaged in smoking behavior. Furthermore, it has been estimated that the annual mortality rate owing to smoking-related illnesses stands at approximately 30,000 individuals. During a Legislative Chamber meeting, the “Milliy Tiklanish” party faction of the country engaged in discussions pertaining to the draft legislation titled “On Restriction of Distribution and Consumption of Alcohol and Tobacco Products.” The primary objective of the proposed legislation is to establish comprehensive regulations governing the distribution and consumption of alcohol and tobacco products. The overarching goal is to safeguard individuals from the adverse effects associated with these substances while simultaneously fostering an environment conducive to promoting a healthy lifestyle within a broader societal framework. Specifically, it entails an adjustment in the minimum age threshold for purchase, raising it from 20 to 21 years. The proposed legislation additionally encompasses provisions pertaining to the regulation of nicotine snuff, a practice increasingly adopted by adolescents, thereby posing a significant risk to their overall well-being.


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