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World No Tobacco Day: Call to raises taxes on tobacco “deeply irresponsible”

Wed 28th May, 2014

Forest says demands to raise taxes on tobacco are “deeply irresponsible” and will “play into the hands of criminal gangs”.

The comments follow calls by the organisers of World No Smoking Day for countries to increase tobacco taxation.

John Mallon, spokesman for the consumer group Forest Eireann, said:

“Raising taxes on tobacco is deeply irresponsible. It plays into the hands of criminal gangs and fuels the black market.

“Ireland has a huge problem with tobacco smuggling. This week alone one million cigarettes were seized in Dublin Port. 

“Last week four tonne of illegal tobacco and empty pouches and tobacco producing machinery were found in an illegal roll your own factory in Dundalk.

“Criminals generate approximately €3 million per week from illegal tobacco sales whilst €240 million is estimated to be lost to the Exchequer each year through tobacco smuggling. 

“The average price of 20 cigarettes in Ireland is an extortionate €9.60. Approximately 80 per cent goes directly to government in excise and VAT. 

“In 2012 the Revenue conceded that tobacco taxation had passed the point at which price increase would yield more taxation.

“The only people who benefit from excessive taxation are the smugglers and counterfeiters. Legitimate retailers lose business, government loses valuable revenue, and children are put at risk because criminals are happy to sell to anyone regardless of their age.

“The Exchequer must reject demands to raise taxes on tobacco and tell the organisers of World No Tobacco Day not to interfere in Ireland’s domestic fiscal policy.”

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