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02 Dec 2021

Call for the introduction of €20 charge for a packet of cigarettes

Call for the introduction of €20 charge for a packet of cigarettes

Call for the introduction of €20 charge for a packet of cigarettes

Budget 2021 coverage  in association with Flynn & Lynch Life & Pensions Ltd

The Irish Heart Foundation has welcomed the 50 cent Budget increase in the price of a packet of cigarettes, but warned more must be done to put tobacco and e-cigarettes out of the purchasing reach of young people.

The charity had called for the phased introduction of a €20 charge for a packet of cigarettes by 2025 and a new excise tax of 6 cent per millilitre of e-cigarette liquid to prevent youngsters becoming addicted to nicotine.

“The 50 cent increase on a packet of cigarettes and the pro-rata on other tobacco products is welcomed, 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.

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“Tobacco use is still the leading cause of preventable death in Ireland with almost 6,000 smokers dying each year from tobacco related diseases. A healthier future is contingent on discouraging smoking and taking bold action.

“The Programme for Government was explicit in the role of a targeted taxation regime to specifically discourage vaping and e-cigarettes, and there is clear evidence that tax increases on e-cigarettes are effective in reducing youth use.

“The Health Research Board found a three to five times fold increased likelihood between e-cigarette use and initiating smoking cigarettes in adolescents," Mr Macey said.

Mr Macey said the smoking rate among 15 to 16-year-olds has been cut from 41% to 12% over a 20-year period. “We cannot give up these hard-won health gains by allowing a new generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through an e-cigarette industry that is largely controlled by big tobacco.

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“During the Covid pandemic, when our respiratory and cardiovascular health is paramount. It is disappointing that the Government failed to do more in the drive to achieve a Tobacco-Free Ireland," Mr Macey added. 

The 50 cent increase brings the cost of the most popular price category of cigarettes from its current level of €13.70 to €14.20. 

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