Deputy Declan Breathnach.
Louth Deputy Declan Breathnach (FF) has said that the 50 cent hike in the price of a pack of cigarettes announced in the Budget will be welcome news to smugglers and rogue traders who he says will be celebrating today.
The increase brings the price of a packet of 20 cigarettes in the most popular price category to €13.50.
Deputy Breathnach said this price increase will not decrease smoking levels, but will instead lead to an increase in the smuggling of cigarettes and the black market.
Breathnach commented “The hike in cigarette prices will be celebrated today by smugglers and rogue traders.
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However, he said “retailers, particularly in the border region, will not be celebrating the change which can only increase cross-border smuggling of cigarettes.”
“The Government should be encouraging people to quit smoking with HSE initiatives, not just hiking up the price every year driving more and more people to buy their cigarettes illegally or buy them while abroad in duty free.”
Retailers say that they too are at a loss to understand the Government’s decision to impose another excise increase of 50c in the Budget.
Retailers Against Smuggling’s (RAS) National Spokesperson Benny Gilsenan said:
“In the backdrop of a potential no-deal Brexit, the return of a Duty Free regime between Ireland and the UK and an ever fluctuating Sterling, all of which will lead to further growth in the illicit trade, tax compliant small and medium sized retailers are once again penalised while criminals and Airport Duty Frees reap the benefits as the cost of tobacco products increase yet again.”