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Ireland: “Stop weaponising tax in war on smokers”

Forest has urged the government to “stop weaponising” tax in order to achieve a Smoke Free Ireland by 2025.

In its pre-Budget 2022 submission to finance minister Paschal Donohoe the smokers’ lobby group Forest Ireland argued that instead of “punishing” consumers for their habit smokers should be given a “post-Covid break from yet another increase in tobacco duty”.

Urging the minister for finance to freeze tobacco duty in next month’s Budget, Forest Ireland spokesman John Mallon said:

“The government must stop weaponising tax in the war on smokers.

“The majority of smokers come from poorer backgrounds. Many have suffered financially as a result of the pandemic and should not have to face yet another increase in the cost of tobacco at a time when they can least afford it.”

He added:

“For some adults smoking is one of the few pleasures they enjoy. Imposing yet another tax hike on tobacco with a view to forcing more people to quit so the government can meet its arbitrary target of a ‘Smoke Free Ireland’ by 2025 is regressive and cruel.

“It’s time to stop punishing smokers for their habit and give them a post-Covid break from yet another increase in tobacco duty.”

According to Mallon:

“Brexit will provide a further challenge for the exchequer because access to cheaper duty free tobacco is only a short flight away in the UK.

“This could have a significant impact on the domestic market so increasing the tax on tobacco in Ireland makes no sense.

“A further tax hike will harm legitimate retailers as more smokers are driven to buy legal duty free tobacco in the UK or on the unregulated black market at home.”

Simon Clark

Mission & Vision



Forest’s mission is to protect the interests of adults who choose to smoke or consume tobacco.


Our key aims and objectives are to:

  • counteract the “denormalisation” of smoking, and smokers
  • prevent further restrictions on the purchase and consumption of tobacco
  • establish closer links with other tobacco-friendly groups at home and abroad
  • build support among consumers of tobacco and other similarly threatened groups
  • highlight the increasingly intrusive nature of Big Government in the lives of private individuals