CSNA expresses dismay over Irish government’s high price tobacco policy
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association has expressed dismay that the government's high priced tobacco policy is helping the illicit market to flourish
29 November 2013
The Convenience Stores and Newsagents Association (CSNA) has expressed its dismay at the statement by the Minister of Finance to the Dail on Wednesday (27 November) on the high pricing of tobacco.
In his statement the Minister said that that the policy of high prices for tobacco products would lead to increases in existing levels of illicit trade, particularly for people posing as tourists and availing of cheap flights. He said: "Many ordinary decent citizens are buying illicit cigarettes and illicit tobacco mainly for price reasons." He also added: "As we continue to use price to discourage people from smoking, I think we will divert more and more of the trade to the illicit trade."
In response to this statement CEO of the CSNA, Vincent Jennings said: "This is the clearest statement ever made by any government Minister that the high price policy has the effect of encouraging illicit trade."
Jennings expressed dismay that the government is continuing to drive more people to the illicit trade. He said: "On behalf of the ordinary decent tax paying and legitimate retailers and their employees , we are appalled that the Irish government is prepared to allow further dilution of the legal trade in tobacco in favour of criminal gangs and people deliberately evading excises by posing as bona-fide travellers."
"This high price policy is clearly not reducing consumption for a substantial cohort of smokers that are availing of a lax and overly generous Personal Allowance regime of 800 cigarettes," claimed Jennings. The CSNA has called for Ireland to follow in the steps of Finland in only allowing a personal allowance of 200 cigarettes for those entering the country. Jennings also added: "The government frequently cites the example of Australia in terms of tobacco control; the allowance there is 50 cigarettes."