One month on: Irish smokers left unhappy by cigarette price increase

Not only will the price of cigarettes be increased by 75c per packet of 20 in January 2024 but the government also plans to include a new tax on e-cigarettes and vaping in the next budget.

The Government has announced in Budget 2024, that not only will the price of cigarettes be increased by 75c per packet of 20, but also their plans to include a new tax on e-cigarettes and vaping in the next budget.

The Minister for Finance Michael McGrath announced the new excise duty, much to the dismay of the smoking community, who were expecting a 50c increase. This now brings the price of cigarettes to €16.75 per 20 pack.

There will also be a pro-rata increase on other tobacco products.

Local Limerick student Patrick Ryan is very unhappy about the 75c increase in the price of cigarettes; he believes it is just another way for the government to make money: “It is ridiculous. Rising the price of cigarettes will not stop people from smoking, it is just going to cause them to go without necessities so they can afford them. This is why my friends and I import our cigarettes from abroad in bulk. We can get a packet of cigarettes for €5; we are saving over €10.”

Like Patrick, Nenagh native and Psychology student Emma Freeman does not believe the increased price of cigarettes is a positive thing: “I think the increase price of cigarettes is going to do more harm than good. The aim of the increase is to protect the people of Ireland and encourage them to stop smoking.

“Foundations and charities are doing their best in trying to think of the best way to prevent people getting sick and being harmed by these toxic substances. I however do not believe that this is going to be effective I think this is actually going to make the cost-of-living crisis a lot worse.”

Emma also believes that the increased cost of cigarettes will put more pressure on already struggling families: “I don’t think the price of cigarettes will help stop people from taking up smoking as I believe that it will cause severe withdrawal symptoms. Parents who are addicted to cigarettes will have to work extra hard to make the money for a pack of cigarettes. The less cigarettes they get the more likely they’re going to want them more and more.”

Although it is clear that Irish smokers are unhappy about the decision, the Irish Heart Foundation and their Director of Advocacy, Chris Maccey, welcomed the news in his statement.

Mr Maccey stated: “Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances on the planet and there has been an explosion in youth use of e-cigarettes that has been further fuelled by the advent of disposable vapes. We can’t afford to wait a moment longer than necessary to impose this tax.”

“The Government knows the threat they pose to the future health of our children and that higher taxes could significantly reduce the number of child vapers because of their sensitivity to price increases.”

Mr Maccey went on to state that the increase in taxes and the introduction of taxes on vapes could significantly reduce the number of child vapers and help protect the health of the young Irish citizens.

Like Mr Maccey, Minister McGrath and the government hope that the 75c increase will help reduce smoking levels in our society.

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