Retailers across Ireland could see further reductions to the sale of tobacco products after an increase in excise tax was introduced in October’s budget.
The excise duty on a packet of 20 cigarettes is to increase by 50 cents, while roll your own tobacco will be hit with an additional 25 cent charge. The increase means a standard packet of cigarettes will pass the €12 mark for the first time.
Though sales have fallen in recent years, tobacco products are still a substantial seller in local stores, and a major influence on overall profit margins.
Public health group Action on Smoking and Health welcomed the news of the tax increase, citing the government’s initiative to create a smoke free Ireland by 2025.
Chairman of the group Patrick Dooley said: “Significant inroads have been made in regard to smoking prevalence over the past 13 years with current levels down to less than 20%, down from 29% in 2003.”
However smoker’s group Forest Ireland lamented the news, claiming the government has levied excessive taxation on tobacco in recent years.
Its spokesperson John Mallon said: “Ireland is already the most expensive place in Europe to buy tobacco. Raising the price of cigarettes for the sixth consecutive budget is unfair because it disproportionally hurts those on lower incomes.”
2017 has already witnessed major changes to Ireland’s tobacco legislation. In March the commencement order was signed banning branded packaging of cigarettes. Flavoured and menthol cigarettes are to be outlawed by 2020.