News Releases
Poll: 70% of adults in Ireland say buying cigarettes from the black market or abroad is “understandable”

+ 70% of adults (including 67% of non-smokers) say purchasing cigarettes from the black market or other countries is ‘understandable’ given high cost of legal tobacco in Ireland

+ 65% think the current rate of tobacco duty is ‘too high’, a ‘little high’ or ‘about right’

+ only one in four (25%) think tobacco duty is ‘too low’ or a ‘little low’

+ support for Sinn Féin significantly higher among smokers

An overwhelming majority of adults in Ireland think that purchasing cigarettes and tobacco from the black market or other countries is ‘understandable’ given the high cost of tobacco sold legally in Ireland.

According to a survey conducted by iReach for the smokers’ group Forest Ireland, 70% of adults agree that it is ‘somewhat understandable’ (40%) or ‘very understandable’ (30%) that smokers might choose not to buy cigarettes and tobacco from legitimate retailers in Ireland.

That view was supported by 85% of smokers and two-thirds (67%) of non-smokers. Only one in five (20%) of all adults found it not understandable.

The survey, which was conducted from 24th to 30th September, also found that 65% of adults think the current level of tobacco duty – almost 80% on an average pack of cigarettes in Ireland – is either too high (22%), a little high (11%) or about right (32%).

Only one in four (25%) think tobacco duty is too low (21%) or a little low (4%).

The iReach poll also found that 29% of all adults would vote for Fine Gael if there was an election tomorrow, followed by Sinn Féin at 25% and Fianna Fáil at 13%.

Support for Sinn Féin was significantly higher among smokers. According to iReach, 34% of smokers would vote for Sinn Féin, 26% for Fine Gael and 14% for Fianna Fáil.

Forest Ireland is urging the government to reject calls to increase the tax on tobacco. In its submission ahead of next week’s Budget, the group called on Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe to “give smokers a break”.

Spokesman John Mallon said:

“A further tax hike will encourage even more smokers to buy tobacco abroad or on the black market because there is very little stigma associated with such transactions.

“For most people, including non-smokers, it is perfectly understandable given the punitive level of tobacco duty in this country.”

He added:

“The price of tobacco bought legally in Ireland is among the highest in the world. This is nothing to be proud of.

“Increasing tobacco duty again will further discriminate against the poor and those who are just about managing.

“We urge the government to take into account public opinion, freeze tobacco duty, and give smokers a break.”

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