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STAFF REPORTER

PALMA
MANY tourists come to the Balearics as much for cheap cigarettes as the beach and sun, it was claimed yesterday.
The president of the association which represents tourist businesses in the islands (Acotur), Pepe Tirado, said that there were a “multitude” of tourists that came to the Balearics “obsessed and attracted” by the low price of cigarettes in relation to their native countries.

For that reason, Tirado demanded that tourist outlets be allowed sell tobacco. Acotur's president was speaking in relation to the PP motion that was put before the Balearic Parliament earlier this week calling on central Government to increase the channels of distributions of tobacco on the islands.

The motion was voted down by the ruling parties in the parliament.
The sale of tobacco was restricted in a 2005 law designed to tackle nicotine addiction.
Since then, tourist businesses in the Balearics have demanded the right to sell tobacco, which, according to Tirado, was worth, in some cases, about 50 percent of business and which also served as a “hook” to get customers through the doors.

One of the main grievances in the Balearics is that tourist businesses in the Canaries are exempted from this law.
Tirado said that it “irritated” him that the state also sells tobacco in kiosks and shops owned by the company Aldeasa.
He said that tourist businesses in the Balearics were suffering “permanent injury and discrimination”.
This meant that many businesses were having difficulties surviving due to the seasonality of tourism. Proprietors were being forced to work 12 to 14 hours days to survive, said Tirado. The President of Acotur said that the sale of tobacco was a “great draw” for tourists, bearing in mind that the cost of a packet of cigarettes costs 2.75 euros here, while in Britain and Germany, this figure rose to 9 euros.

This meant for many tourists their trip to the islands was “free”.
Tirado said that businesses in the Balearics needed tobacco sales in the same way that businesses in Gerona and Irun “subsisted on the large quantities of tobacco that the French and visitors from other countries bought”.

He added that the law which had been brought in to regulate the sale of tobacco had not “lived up to expectations”.