Parliament on Tuesday passed a law that establishes a state monopoly for retail sales of tobacco products from July 1, 2013. The bill, submitted by the ruling Fidesz party last December, requires a concession from the state to sell tobacco products in shops and limits the number of retail outlets, which are expected to total 7,000.
Bids for the concessions will be called by November 15 and the results announced within two months.
The state can fine retailers that lack concession rights up to half a billion forints for any unauthorised sales.
The final vote with 244 deputies for, 36 against and 26 abstentions, took place after the European Commission raised no objections to the legislation.