It is the seventh year in a row that the price of cigarettes has been hiked up
THE price of cigarettes has been hiked up by 50 cent, it has been announced.
During his Budget 2019 speech Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe confirmed smokers will now have to pay €12.70 for a packet of 20 fags.
It is the seventh year in a row that the price of cigarettes has been hiked up.
Minister Donohoe also said he was introducing the Minimum Excise Duty on tobacco products costing below €11 will have the same excise as tobacco products sold at €11.
The price hike will come into force from midnight tonight.
Donal Buggy, Head of Services and Advocacy at the Irish Cancer Society welcomed the increase saying: “The Irish Cancer Society is pleased that price of cigarettes continues to increase. The price rise will encourage people to stop smoking and ultimately save lives.
“We have campaigned for increased excise duty and MED over 2018 as regular, sharp increases in the cost of tobacco are the most effective way of getting people to quit smoking and the most effective way of stopping children from taking up smoking.
“Currently, child smoking at an all-time low of 8 per cent, while overall smoking prevalence is at 22 per cent.”
Irish Heart Foundation Head of Advocacy, Chris Macey welcomed the increase but hit out at the failure to close the price gap between manufactured cigarettes and roll-your-own tobacco.
He said: “The Irish Heart Foundation welcomes the 50 cent increase in tobacco tax. Price increases are the most effective way to discourage smoking, particularly among young people, and have driven a dramatic decrease in teenage smoking rates.
“The tobacco industry needs an estimated 50 young people to take up smoking every day in Ireland to replace those its products kill or who manage to quit.
“So every annual tax increase brings the end of this vile trade in Ireland a little nearer.
“However, the failure to close the price gap between manufactured cigarettes and much cheaper roll-your-own tobacco through an additional increase on these products is disappointing given their popularity among young people.“
Disabilities Minister Finian McGrath previously slammed any hike in the price of ciggies during the Budget claiming: “The only ones who will benefit are the gangsters that run the black-market trade.”
The Independent Alliance man insisted there would be no health benefit as people would just source their ciggies from the black market — where they sell for as little as €5 — or from abroad.
During his speech Minister Donohoe said the benefits of previous budgets are real but “the risks and challenges we face are equally real”.
Donohoe said these challenges include housing, Brexit and tax changes.
Donohoe and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar denied suggestions it was an election budget, adding that it was the first balanced budget in 10 years.
It will be the last budget before Brexit next March with those in power setting aside 500 million euro in a Rainy Day Fund which may be dipped into in the event of a bad Brexit.
By Harry Manning, The Irish SUN