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Call for higher taxes on cigarettes

Tue 18th October, 2011

Tobacco control campaigners have called for a one-euro tax increase on a packet of cigarettes in Ireland.

The Irish Heart Foundation claimed that the increase would cut the number of smoking-related deaths by 15,000 and would reduce the number of smokers in Ireland by 30,000.

The IHF also claimed research, conducted by Landman Economics, disproved the previous government's belief that a tax increase on cigarettes would result in a rise of smuggling illicit cigarettes into the country. Report author Howard Reed said despite major tax increases from 1995 to 2005, smuggling rates remained unchanged.

The research found that a tax rise in the next Budget would bring in 68 million euro (£59 million) in extra receipts and a further 28 million euro (£25 million) in indirect public finance benefits.

Attacking the previous government's freeze on taxes, IHF chief executive Michael O'Shea said: "This represents a spectacular policy failure by the last government and their officials."

The Irish Heart Foundation will submit the findings of its report to the Taoiseach and Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to urge them to take action in December's Budget.

He said: "We will be asking for a meeting. We hope they will listen to what we're saying and that they carry out the recommendations of the report. Lives are at stake and we need the money."

Source: Belfast Telegraph (18 October 2011)

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