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IRELAND

Cigarette prices to rise again

14 Oct 2020. Irish Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe has announced another increase in the price of a packet of cigarettes, reports the Irish Examiner.

As part of Budget 2021, a packet of 20 cigarettes will now cost 50 cents more, bringing the cost of most popular cigarettes to at least EUR 14 (USD 16,48) per pack.

According to the Irish Examiner, The Irish Heart Foundation welcomed the increase in price but also pointed out that more needed to be done to protect youths from being able to purchase tobacco and e-cigarettes.

“The 50 cent increase on a packet of cigarettes, and pro-rata on other tobacco products, is welcome but much more needs to be done. We are disappointed that there is no taxation on e-cigarette liquid,” said Irish Heart Foundation head of advocacy, Chris Macey.

On the other hand, smokers’ group Forest Ireland criticised the further price hike saying it would drive more people to buy illegal products. John Mallon, a spokesman for the group, said: "This is yet another kick in the teeth for consumers who already pay punitive levels of tax on tobacco. It will drive even more smokers to buy tobacco from the black market or abroad, and who would blame them? Apart from the less well off, the biggest losers will be legitimate retailers, many of whom can ill afford a further loss of revenue."

Retailers Against Smuggling (RAS) seconded that opinion, with spokesperson Benny Gilsenan saying, “It is very disappointing to see honest retailers take yet another blow with today’s excise increase which will inevitably make it even harder to compete with a growing black market. We have some of the highest rates of duty on tobacco products in the EU and it is no wonder that Ireland continues to be a target for tobacco smugglers, even while there are Covid-19 restrictions on travel in place.”