Report: most Danes support “sin taxes”

The majority of Danes think that taxes on cigarettes, alcohol and junk food should be higher, according to a new report. The results of the Epinion/DR poll came as new figures from the Tax Ministry revealed that the price of tobacco and booze has actually fallen in Denmark since 2002; alcohol is now 15 percent cheaper, while the cost of tobacco has been cut by 10 percent.

The survey found that while 72 percent of Danes think taxes should be raised on cigarettes, 58 percent and 59 respectively also think fees on junk food and alcohol should be increased. The so-called “sin taxes” are unlikely to be introduced any time soon, however, according to tax committee officials.

“The very same people who want higher duties will jump in their cars and drive over the border where prices are lower to go shopping, just as soon as we raise the duties,” said Karsten Lauritzen of the prime minister’s Liberal Party and the tax committee. “There is a limit to how high duties can be and we are already at that limit,” she added.

Social Democrat Rene Skau Bjornsson said that the opposition agrees that cigarettes and junk food should carry heftier duties, but that her party is also concerned about Danes making booze runs to neighbouring countries.

“If we raise the fees on alcohol, we run the risk that cross-border shopping will rise even more, and then we won’t get any benefit out of it. That’s why we propose beginning with cigarettes and junk foods,” said Bjornsson in a report by the Copenhagen Post.