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Number of tobacco shops could fall

The number of tobacco shops could fall shortly, which would result in individual shops serving larger areas, János Lázár, the prime ministerʼs commissioner for protecting non-smokers told business daily Világgazdaság in an interview.

As commercial concessions for operating tobacco shops have been handed over by the state for 20 years, the market can be narrowed down in the short-term by not renewing returned concessions, and in areas where there is a shortage of supply, a temporary license should only be issued in more justified cases, Lázár (the former head of the Prime Ministerʼs Office) said.

He noted that the share of smokers in Hungary recently has been dropping by 1-2% every year. At the start of the previous decade it was above 30% of the population and now it is at around 20-25%, and even lower if only "traditional" tobacco products are taken into account.