Charities call for increase in cigarette prices

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Irish Cancer Society and Irish Heart Foundation want 60 cents price hike in upcoming budget

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5 September 2013

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The Irish Cancer Society (ICS) and the Irish Heart Foundation have called for a 60 cents increase in the price of a packet of cigarettes in the upcoming budget. The charities also want a new system of state regulation of the tobacco industry, including a price cap to reduce company profits. They say it would result in an extra €65 million for the Exchequer.

Business economist Dr Robert Branston, who carried out the research, said: "A regulator would be created that would cap the price that companies can charge, so it would establish a maximum, that the companies would be free to set their prices below that, but in actual fact they would set them at the capped level. That would therefore reduce the prices that they are charging and then to make sure that prices in the shops don’t fall, and therefore encourage people to smoke, the government would need increase taxes to offset that."

Kathleen O’Meara of the ICS says the increase is not an unfair burden on smokers. "It may appear as a burden on the smoker, but in fact we know that most smokers want to quit and we really want to see those smokers quit because half of long-term smokers will die directly as a result of smoking," she claimed.

The charities have also said they want a further 5% increase in the price of tobacco products every year after this one. The cost to the state of smoking related illnesses comes in at around two billion euro annually.

 

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