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Budget 2020: "Give smokers a break" says Forest Ireland

Wed 11th September, 2019

Forest Ireland has called on the government to reject calls to raise the price of a packet of cigarettes to €20 a pack by 2025 and “give smokers a break”.

In its pre-Budget submission to the government, the smokers’ group points out that, following last year’s 50c increase on a packet of 20 cigarettes, tobacco products continue to cost more in Ireland than anywhere else in the EU.

Excise on tobacco products has increased in 23 of the last 27 budgets, says the group, and the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes in the most popular price category (MPPC) now stands at €12.70, with a tax rate of 79 per cent on every packet.

“The government is obsessed with being seen to tackle smoking,” said Forest Ireland spokesman John Mallon, “but successive tax increases are punishing those who can least afford it. With consumers in Ireland experiencing the highest priced tobacco in Europe, it’s time to give smokers a break.

“The health risks of smoking are very well known yet many people choose to smoke because they enjoy it, not because they are addicted. Government must respect that choice and stop bullying smokers to stop. The only people who are gaining from these new measures are those who are selling illegal cigarettes.”

Budget 2020 will be announced on Tuesday 8th October.

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